NEW YORK, NY.- Statements on freedom of expression; art and activism; government, power, and moral choices; the digital world; history, the historical moment, and the future; freedom, power, art, and moral choices.
Everything is art. Everything is politics.
Now, China and the world have another little book of thoughts and sayingsthough not red this time, as in the era of Mao, but blackand it is by Ai Weiwei, one of Chinas most influential, outspoken, and inspiring public figures. Acclaimed as an artist, architect, curator, and activist Ai Weiwei has been a consistent critic of the Chinese governments stance on human rights and democracy. An internationally renowned artist, his work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Guangzhou Triennial, the Tate Modern, the Hirshhorn Museum, and other venues throughout the world.
My favorite word? Its act.
Ai Weiweis little black book demonstrates the concise elegance of his thoughts on the great issues of our timeart, politics, and life in contemporary China. A master at communicating powerful ideas in astonishingly few words, Ai Weiwei is known for his innovative use of social media to disseminate his views. The short quotations presented in WEIWEI-ISMS (publication date: December 12, 2012) have been carefully selected from articles, tweets, and interviews given by this acclaimed Chinese artist and activist. The book is organized into six categories: freedom of expression; art and activism; government, power, and moral choices; the digital world; history, the historical moment, and the future; and personal reflections.
I wouldnt say Ive become more radical: I was born radical.
Together, the quotes in WEIWEI-ISMS span some of the most revealing moments of Ai Weiweis eventful career, from his risky investigation into student deaths in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake to his arbitrary arrest in 2011. Edited in cooperation with Ai Weiwei by his longtime colleague Larry Warsh, this small, understated volume offers a window into the mind of one of the worlds most electrifying and courageous contemporary artists.
With this falls shift in Chinese leadership, notes Warsh, publication of Weiweis little black book will have an even greater impact because the timelyand timelessissues that he raises, such as the universal human right of freedom of expression, and the nature of our moral choices in the face of power, continue to impact contemporary Chinese society and the entire the world.
Ai Weiwei is unquestionably one of the most important artists of our time. His practice encompasses the production of objects, the circulation of information, and politics in a manner that is absolutely unique. This worthy compilation of short quotations will introduce a broad audience to his thought and activism, and makes clear the scope and span of this truly global artist.
David Joselit, author of After Art
First, there was Confucius. Then, the sayings of Chairman Mao. And now the pithy, ironic, and humorous insights of Ai Weiwei. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection, which reflects a well-developed philosophy as well as a keen understanding of the Chinese Communist system. This is China made easy and interesting.
Jerome A. Cohen, New York University
Ai Weiwei (@AIWW) is one of Chinas most influential and inspiring figures. Artist, architect, curator, and activist, he has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese governments stance on human rights and democracy. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Guangzhou Triennial, the Tate Modern, the Smithsonian, and other venues throughout the world. Larry Warsh has been active in the art world for more than thirty years. He has collaborated with Ai Weiwei on several projects, including the public art installation Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads (2010). Warsh is a former member of the Contemporary Arts Council of the Asia Society and the Contemporary Arts Committee of the China Institute. He has also served on the boards of the Museum of Contemporary Art, China; the Alliance for the Arts; and the Getty Museum Photographs Council. He is currently on the board of Muse Film and Television and is a member of the Basquiat Authentication Committee.