Works of the late Andy Warhol will be shown at the same time.
It has only been in the past week that the artist has been permitted to leave China. His outspoken criticism of the ruling party has resulted in a house arrest, his studio in Shanghai being destroyed and harassment and jailing. The ruling party destroyed his studio claiming that the correct permits were not obtained. They also alleged that he evaded paying income tax.
Ai was particularly critical of the corruption that saw school buildings collapse and crush school children in Sichuan Province during the 2008 earthquake. One of his installations consisted of children’s school bags, one for each dead child. That installation is in Munich.
In spite of his home arrest he has been able to carry on his work. He has had exhibit spaces photographed with laser cameras so that he may know exactly where each item is to be placed.
The iconic Birdsnest Stadium built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was Ai’s design. That was before the Sichuan earthquake and Ai’s blunt criticism of the government.
Perhaps connected to Ai’s recent return of his passport is the awarding of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to Beijing. The Birdsnest Stadium will be a reminder of him and China’s promises to respect human rights.
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