Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz


@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

September 27, 2014
Open to VCS Students and Faculty

From the For-Site Foundation:
“The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally renowned both as a maker of potent and provocative art and as a passionate advocate for human rights and freedom of expression. His art and ideas find a compelling new context in this exhibition of works created specifically for Alcatraz — a 19th-century military fortress, a notorious federal penitentiary, a site of Native American heritage and protest, and now one of America’s most visited national parks.

Ai’s sculpture, sound, and mixed-media works will occupy four locations in the former prison: the New Industries Building, A Block, the Hospital, and the Dining Hall. With the exception of the Dining Hall, these spaces are usually off limits to the public, but all will be open throughout the run of this unprecedented exhibition. Revealing unexpected perspectives on Alcatraz and its layered legacy, @Large prompts visitors to consider the implications of incarceration and the possibilities of art as an act of conscience.

For Ai, these are not just artistic themes; they are facts of life. A vocal critic of the Chinese government, Ai was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for 81 days in 2011 on charges of tax evasion, and is still not permitted to leave China. As a result, Ai is currently unable to visit Alcatraz. He is developing the artwork for the exhibition from his studio in Beijing, with the help of the FOR-SITE Foundation and a team of collaborators from organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.”