PHOTO: TED ALCORN / SUNDANCE SELECTS
To be an artist is to take risks, and yet it is sometimes easy to forget that many artists have literally risked their personal safety and even their lives to make art that speaks out social injustice and political oppression. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is just such an artist. While much of his art could be defined as performance or conceptual (or even vandalism and hooliganism) thus raising some of the same questions discussed around Kyle McDonald’s work (“is it art?”), there is little doubt that Weiwei is an artist that takes huge risks and has paid the price for it with the Chinese government.
A forthcoming documentary by Alison Klayman promises to be an interesting look at Weiwei’s work. ArtReview named Weiwei the most powerful artist in the world in 2011.
The movie opened to limited release in theaters last weekend (you know, to leave room for important cultural fare like “Ice Age,” “the Amazing Spiderman,” and, of course, Mark Wahlberg’s latest artistic masterpiece “Ted.”)
NPR interviewed Alison Klayman about the movie – listen to the interview here.
I would love to hear from anyone who had a chance to see the documentary – leave your impressions in the comments below.