Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ai Wei Wei: According to What?

I'm so glad that I booked an extra day in Miami to have lunch with my friend David Cool as well as see the Ai Wei Wei show at the fancy new Perez Museum there.
There we are standing in front of Wei Wei's Dog Head sculpture outside, part of his Chinese Astrology Series.
There were many old photos of him from his days in New York and his days in China.  This is the first ever North American tour of his work and I urge you to see it if it comes to a museum near you.  Perhaps because I've been a Question Authority person most of my life, his work appeals to me and because it's also filled with compassion.  I thought I had taken more photos of his photos but can't put my finger on them now. 

But here is what first got him in trouble with Chinese authorities

 He formed a group called the Citizen's Investigative project right after the May 12, 2008,  7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Szechuan Province.  Over 5,000 names of school children and others are listed on the wall and in front of the wall, rods of rebar taken from the wreckage.

How could I not add my finger?  Wish it was in front of Congress rather than the White House.

Marble Surveillance Camera 2010
Since we now know that our every move is being scrutinized by the NAS at least in our cyberspace lives, this object has resonance for those of us supposedly living in a democracy, albeit one that is becoming more and more controlled my major corporations who are controlling congress.

He is one of the bravest artists in our century who creates thoughtful, witty projects like this installation of river crabs

He calls this He Xie, which literally means river crab in Chinese but is a homophone for the word harmony, used in the Communist Party slogan.  The term He Xie has now become internet slang for government censorship.  If you click here, it will take you to his website.
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