Who's Afraid of Ai Weiwei?

Slide Show: Ai Weiwei's Architecture, Installations and Objects

Ai Weiwei completed the "Study in Perspective" series from 1995 to 2003 and captured his defiant middle finger in front of seats of political or cultural power in Paris, Washington DC, Berlin, Beijing and Hong Kong.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiAi Weiwei - Study in Perspective
He served as design consultant to Swiss architects Herzog & de Mueron for the 2008 Olympic Stadium in Beijing. He would later denounce the stadium and the Beijing games as the "false smile" of an authoritarian regime.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiBeijing Olympic Stadium
"Map of China" (2003) is made of wood from demolished temples.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiMap
It measures over 50 centimeters tall. Following this first iteration, Ai Weiwei would revisit the map form in a variety of materials, from a salvaged wooden beam to paper archives to Tieli wood assembled from Qing dynasty temples.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiMap of China
The assembly process behind "Map of China" (2003). Expert craftsmen employed a traditional method of jointing the wood without using a single nail.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiMap of China
In 1995, Ai created a series of controversial photographs that documented him dropping a Han dynasty urn. Ai later revisited this material in his "Colored Vases" series, in which he hand-dipped Neolithic vases (5000 - 3000 BC) like these in industrial paint." Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiVases
"Colored Vases" (2006) is one of his most iconic works. Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiColored Vases
Ai Weiwei adds the ubiquitous Coca Cola logo to a Han dynasty vase for "Coca Cola Vase" (1994).Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiCoca Cola Vase
Another "Study in Perspective" -- at the Eiffel Tower.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiStudy in Perspective - Eiffel Tower
One thousand and one antique Chinese chairs for the 1,001 Chinese visitors Ai Weiwei brought to Kassel, Germany, for Documenta 12 (2007) as part of his project, "Fairytale."Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiFairytale
Each participant in "Fairytale" was provided a complete travel set that included clothing, luggage and bedding. Participants ranged in age from 2 to 70 and came from diverse professional and geographic locations throughout China.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiFairytale
Ai reinterprets Qing dynasty tables for "Crossed Tables" (1997).Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiCrossed Tables
One of his first works appropriating late Ming and Qing furniture, "Double Stool" (1997).Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiDouble Stool
For the "Study of Perspective" series, Ai photographed his extended middle finger in front of the White House.Photo Courtesy of Ai WeiweiStudy in Perspective - White House

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Posted March 29, 2011

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