From the Publisher
"This superb volume of commentary and colorplates presents an enlightening and moving overview of Ai's diverse, strongly conceptual, and socially conscious body of work." Booklist
"[A] fine introduction to [Ai's] intelligent, humane body of work. …This catalog is an excellent first step toward exploring all that Ai Weiwei has accomplished so far." Library Journal
"Ranging from photography and video to sculpture and architecture, it's a primer on the recent output of one of the world's most important artists." - Art Info
"This very important publication is a must read." Choice
This catalog, published in conjunction with the first U.S. retrospective of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, is a fine introduction to his intelligent, humane body of work. It’s excellent, too, for those who would like to understand better the methods underpinning conceptual art, the approach that Ai Weiwei pursues. Edited by Bougher (chief curator, Hirschhorn Museum), the attractive monograph is filled with color photographs, images that will help readers appreciate the artist’s choice of objects and materials (fragments of demolished homes or temples; a popular brand of bicycle; schoolchildren’s backpacks). Selected for the way they evoke the complex interplay of politics, culture, history, and individual and collective experience, these works reflect the continuity but also conflict between China’s past and present. Weiwei has been called (and is probably best known as) a dissident for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government, but his workin it is exploration of memory, politics, and artistic expressionis far more subtle than what is typically considered political art.
Verdict This catalog is an excellent first step toward exploring all that Ai Weiwei has accomplished so far. Two essays, an author interview, and a selected bibliography add informative context and commentary. [See the review of a new DVD program on the artist, LJ 3/1/13.Ed.]Michael Dashkin, New York
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