Ai Weiwei

Beijing, China
Ai Weiwei is undoubtedly the most famous and respected Chinese contemporary artist. He lived for 12 years in the United States from 1981 to1993, spending most of that time in New York, immersed in the city’s art world. His work extends across a wide range of fields, from conceptual art and architecture to documentaries and photography, but he is probably best known as a human rights and social activist, creating thought-provoking work that aims to challenge, provoke and showcase the contrast between China’s ideal and real society. An outspoken critic of the Chinese regime, Ai Weiwei was arrested in 2011 and detained for three months without official charges, which drew the outrage of the international community. His best-known works include the poignant Remembering and Straight artworks created as a response to the devastating Sichuan earthquake, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, the controversial Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, Sunflower Seeds, and The Bird’s Nest, the National Stadium in Beijing.

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