The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, April 20, 2014


Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau presents more than 200 photographs of Ai Weiwei in New York
A young woman looks at a photographs by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at the Martin Gropius Building in Berlin,Germany, 14 October 2011. The exhibtion 'Ai Weiwei in New York - Photographs 1983-1993' with 220 photographs runs from 15 October 2011 until 18 March 2012. EPA/BRITTAPEDERSEN.
BERLIN.- For the first time in Germany, the Martin-Gropius-Bau is showing more than 220 photographs from the period 1983 to 1993 spent by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in New York. More than 10,000 photos emerged during this time. Ai acted as curator selecting what will be exhibited. For the young Ai, born in 1957, this extended period of stay in the USA was very influential on the style of his future artistic works. After being in New York, Ai first of all returned to China as his father, the very famous author Ai Qing whose poems every Chinese schoolchild learns by heart, was on his deathbed.

Today, Ai Weiwei is one of the most famous Chinese artists of contemporary times. While living in New York, he became friends with Allen Ginsberg. Many artists who are now famous in China visited him there and Ai photographed them. He became familiar with the works of Joseph Beuys, whose ideas on Social Plastic are recognisable in Ai's work today.

Ai was not yet famous back then in New York, living in a tiny apartment in the East Village. He was an active member of the Chinese community of artists and intellectuals in the area’s avant-garde scene. In the 1980s, New York was a place of freedom from the repression that artists from China had experienced in their home country. After the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the situation became a little more relaxed for China’s artists, but the country was, and continues to be, governed by rigid notions of what art should be like and about whom art is to serve.

Ai captured life in the New York of the eighties with his camera. The result is a series of unique documents bearing witness to an artistically and politically exciting period seen through the eyes of an artist from China. And the viewer can already recognise the beginnings of Ai Weiwei’s concept art in these early photographs. The subjects are varied like life in New York – photos of street fights in Tompkins Square Park, transvestites at the Wigstock Festival, portraits of Chinese and American artists, intellectuals and friends.

The photos lay around forgotten for many years. Thousands of not yet developed negatives remained hidden from view in old cardboard boxes. In 1993, following Ai Weiwei’s return to China, he told the Chinese artist RongRong about them and it is thanks to him that Ai agreed to an exhibition at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing in the year 2009. In the summer of 2010, a first publication appeared in China with the support of Christophe W. Mao and funded by the Mattawin Company.

Ai Weiwei was curator of the first presentation in Beijing, assisted by RongRong and the artist inri, and the exhibition was shown without any changes at a second show New York. The Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin has taken on the exhibition design by Ai Weiwei. The photographs come together to make up an artistic installation that retraces the personal experiences, thoughts and impressions of the artist.

Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei was born in 1957, the son of the writer Ai Qing. When the writer fell out of favour with the Communist regime in 1958, he was sent into exile in Xinjiang. Ai Weiwei experienced the humiliation of his father in this province, some 3,000 km away from Peking. Father and son were first allowed to return to Beijing in 1978. That same year Ai enrolled in the film academy in Beijing, where he studied film together with the meanwhile renowned film directors Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou. In 1979, together with a number of colleagues, he founded the avant-garde artists’ group “The Stars Group”, who during this period of reform wanted to have nothing to do with the official art policies of the State. Ai took part in the famous “Democracy Wall” that was set up in the centre of Beijing in 1978. Wei Jingsheng, then 28 years old, who now lives in exile in the USA, spoke out on the wall posters for a “Fifth Modernization” – more democracy and more individual liberties. However, the “Wall” was forbidden at the end of 1979 because the Communist Party was afraid of losing its monopoly of power.

Wei was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was only allowed to leave the country in 1997 for exile in America after the USA exerted pressure. Ai Weiwei lived in the USA between 1981 and 1993 and studied in New York at the Parsons The New School for Design. In 1993 he returned to Peking, where he has been living since that time. Ai has never giving up the critical stance of his earlier years. When Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 after having been sentenced to ten years of detention in 2009 for demanding more democracy and individual rights, Ai Weiwei, who knows Liu quite well, praised the decision for the award as encouragement for all people in China who speak out for fundamental human rights. Ai has always understood his art as political: concept art, performance, photography – the breadth of the forms of his artistic expression has helped to make him China’s most important artist. Duchamp, Dadaism, Social Sculpture and Andy Warhol have influenced him. His blog has been turned into a successful book in Europe and America. His exhibitions in the USA, Europe and Asia are legendary. He became popular in Germany through his participation in documenta 12 in the year 2007. His work is represented in the most important museums in the world: the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the State Museums in Berlin as well as museums in San Francisco and in Los Angeles.

When Ai Weiwei was arrested in April at the Beijing Airport for subversive artistic activities and held in detention for 80 days in a secret prison, a great outcry arose from the art world. More than 140,000 people signed a petition launched by the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Alexander Ochs and Friends initiated a Berlin appeal called “Freedom for Ai Weiwei”, signed by more than 4,000 people in Germany, including Günter Grass, Durs Grünbein, Rosemarie Trockel, Norbert Bisky, Tobias Rehberger and many other writers and museum workers. The Akademie der Künste in Berlin elected Ai a member of the academy. Prominent artists such as Daniel Buren, Olafur Eliasson, Luc Tuymans and Anish Kapoor demanded his release.

Meanwhile Ai Weiwei has been allowed to live in his studio in Beijing, but is not permitted to speak with the press or to leave the city. Wei Jingsheng recently commented in the New York Times on the situation of artists and others in China: the rule by law in China is still the arbitrary rule of law of the state authorities.

Martin-Gropius-Bau | photographs | Ai Weiwei |


Today's News

October 15, 2011

Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau presents more than 200 photographs of Ai Weiwei in New York

Gobekli Tepe: The world's oldest temple under conservation by the Global Heritage Fund

David Zwirner to present works by American artist Dan Flavin at FIAC 2011 in Paris

Sotheby's New York announces 19th century European art auction in November

American International Fine Art Fair returns to Palm Beach, Florida in February 2012

Photographer Annie Leibovitz gets personal with exhibition at Russia's Pushkin Museum

David LaChapelle portrait of Alexander McQueen and his 'Muse' Isabella Blow acquired by National Portrait Gallery

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents Lunch Break by Sharon Lockhart

Maurice Prendergast Paris scene oil painting unearthed by art specialist at Clarke Auction

Alex Mann joins the Chrysler as the Joan and Macon Brock curator of American art

Exhibition by Puerto Rican artist Enoc Perez opens at Faggionato Fine Art in London

Photography exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California inspires reflection on the 1991 catastrophic fire

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans presents "Junk Shot": New work by Skylar Fein

Commode formerly at Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire, for 150 years, to sell at Bonhams

Camera captures glacial change: Exhibition at London's Royal Geographical Society

"Le Decor et Son Double" exhibition by Daniel Buren opens at S.M.A.K

Maynard Crossland chosen as new President/CEO for Shaker Village, Kentucky

A second edition that confirms the potential of the Moroccan art market

Winner of £10,000 Spode Award announced at British Ceramics Biennial 2011

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter

2.- East-West/West-East: Qatar unveils desert sculpture by American artist Richard Serra

3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain

4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings

5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra

6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"

7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia

8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review

9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary

10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years

Related Stories



Martin-Gropius-Bau Shows the Work of One of the Most Important Exponents of Modernism

Master of Abstract Painting Pierre Soulages and His Retrospective at the Martin-Gropius-Bau

Most Comprehensive Show of Frida Kahlo's Work Ever Staged Opens in Berlin

Olafur Eliasson: Inner City Out Opens at Martin Gropius Bau

Definitive Retrospective of German Photographer F.C. Gundlach's Extensive Work in Berlin

Most Extensive Exhibition of Frida Kahlo's Work Announced at Martin Gropius Bau

Definitive Retrospective of F.C. Gundlach's Extensive Work in Berlin

Seconds that Made History: Photographs by Harald Schmitt on View in Berlin

Martin Gropius Bau Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Futurism with Exhibition



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site