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Art & Artists

Seattle Art Museum to Host Ai Weiwei's First US Retrospective in a Decade

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May 24, 2024 at 12:53
DALL·E 2024-05-24 14.53.25 - A modern art museum gallery showcasing a variety of AI-generated artwork. The space is large and open with high ceilings and plenty of natural light s.webp
Ai Weiwei, the renowned Chinese artist known for his provocative works, is set to receive his first retrospective in the United States in a decade, courtesy of the Seattle Art Museum.

Ai Weiwei, the renowned Chinese artist known for his provocative works, is set to receive his first retrospective in the United States in a decade, courtesy of the Seattle Art Museum.

Scheduled to open on March 12, 2025, the exhibition will showcase over 100 artworks spanning Ai's career. Curated by Foong Ping, a Chinese art curator at the museum, the retrospective aims to delve into the intersections of Ai's art and activism.

Foong expressed her intention to provide a balanced portrayal of Ai's life and work, exploring why his art continues to resonate and make an impact. The exhibition will encompass Ai's diverse practice, from his early conceptual works influenced by Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol to his more recent ventures into sculpture, including his iconic Lego installations and monumental wooden tree sculptures.

Of particular focus will be Ai's work from the 1980s and '90s, a period less familiar to American audiences despite Ai's residency in the country during that time. These works tackled themes such as identity, authorship, and social issues like immigration and the AIDS crisis.

While Ai has faced controversy throughout his career, including detention by the Chinese government and outspoken activism, the retrospective will not shy away from these aspects. Foong emphasized Ai's role as a rebellious provocateur, which she views as integral to his artistic identity.

Titled "Ai, Rebel: The Art and Activism of Ai Weiwei," the exhibition is currently exclusive to the Seattle Art Museum but may potentially travel to other institutions following its conclusion in September 2025.