2013.12.06 Fri, by Translated by: 路弯弯
Back to Jail for Ai Weiwei

The latest news from the studio of Ai Weiwei is that the dissident artist will soon be back behind bars — creating an installation. The site: Alcatraz. Although details of the planned works have not been released, they will take the form of sculpture, multimedia and sound inside the infamous San Francisco prison. Ai will work on the project with Cheryl Haines, a local gallerist and founder of the non-profit foundation For-Site, which helps realize site-specific public art projects in the Bay Area.

Haines told the New York Times: “I think it’s a really rich site that allows him (Ai) to address the most basic human rights, like freedom of expression and its importance in building a culture.” Two years ago, she says, “He was talking about how interested he was in reaching a broad audience, beyond the art world… this thought popped into my mind: ‘What if I brought you a prison?’” Being unable to visit the site (he still does not have his passport), we can assume the artist is busy watching “Birdman of Alcatraz” and “Escape From Alcatraz” on DVDs given to him by Haines this October.

Quoting For-Site:

“Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei responds to the layered history of Alcatraz — a notorious federal penitentiary, a site of Native American heritage and protest, and now a national park — with a major new body of work. Ai is creating site-specific sculpture, sound, and multimedia works for spaces throughout the island, including restricted areas that will be opened to the public especially for this exhibition. Revealing new perspectives on Alcatraz, the exhibition also raises urgent questions about individual and creative freedom. It examines incarceration as a tool of political repression and art as an act of resistance.”

The show is slated to run from September 27, 2014 – April 26, 2015
Sources: New York Times and For-Site

Ai Weiwei, 2010 (photo credit: Gao Yuan).