Artist and activist, prominent in reconnecting art with issues of social and cultural value
There’s a certain buoyancy to Ai Weiwei’s activities, wherein the message is definitely more than the medium, as in recent exhibitions and installations raising awareness of the plight of refugees. Alongside big shows
at the Israel Museum, the Czech National Gallery and the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Istanbul, he was hailed in the US as the artworld’s conscience of choice, with presentations in Washington, DC, Chicago and Grand Rapids, Michigan, not to mention his set of public works Good Fences Make Good Neighbours: 300 cages, fences and banners currently installed throughout New York. Also coming soon to a theatre near you: Ai’s feature documentary Human Flow, out on general cinema release, follows the movement of immigrants in Greece, France, Iraq, Bangladesh and Mexico. While much of the art might be slight, Ai is currently using it to potent effect to see how many people he can get to notice its themes.