Case Study 5
“The artist as political hero”
Ah Wei Wei
Case Study Content:
This case study asks you discover the work of Ah Wei Wei and the role of the artist as political activist.
Outcomes Addressed: * Understands practice in art criticism and art history * Understands the relationships among the artist, artwork, world and audience * Understands how the frames provide for different interpretations in the visual arts Constructs a body of significant art histories and critical accounts in the visual arts
This Case Study will develop your skills in:
Collecting, Analysing and Organising Information * developing informed points of view in written and practical forms, students consider how information may be analysed and used to represent new interpretations of ideas and interests.
Communicating Ideas and Information * representing ideas and interests in written and oral forms. Students learn to consider the different ways their ideas and interests may be understood by audiences and how they communicate meaning.
Planning and Organising Activities * art criticism and art history, students learn to plan investigations and arguments that involve the organisation of written information and examples of artworks, artists and audiences to use in their explanations and evaluations.
Working With Others and in Teams * group discussions of ideas, research investigations, class debates and the making of collaborative works, students learn to work cooperatively and to consider the responses of others to their points of view.
Solving Problems * making judgements about the appropriateness of actions and procedures to solve problems in artmaking, art criticism and art history.
This case study represents 8 hours of investigation and response.
To be completed in class through readings and discussion and with structured homework responses and submitted on due date.
Ai Weiwei | Ai Weiwei | Born | (1957-05-18) 18 May 1957 (age 54)
Beijing, China |
Ai Weiwei (born 18 May 1957) is a Chinese contemporary artist, active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film, and social, political and cultural criticism. Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics.
The Beijing National Stadium at night during the 2008 Summer Olympics
As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-skin schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing airport on 3 April, he was held for over two months without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of "economic crimes" (tax evasion). In October 2011 ArtReview magazine named Ai number one in their annual Power 100 list. The decision was criticised by the Chinese authorities. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin responded, "China has many artists who have sufficient ability. We feel that a selection that is based purely on a political bias and perspective has violated the objectives of the magazine”
Ai's artwork has been exhibited internationally
Fairytale is the title of Ai's contribution for Documenta 12 in 2007. For this project Ai brought 1001 people from all over China to the city of Kassel in Germany. They were chosen through an open invitation he posted on his blog. Ai even designed clothes, luggage and a temporary home in an old textile factory. He let them wander around the city during the exhibition time of three months. The participants were divided into five groups that each stayed in Kassel for eight days. According to Philip Tinari the…