A cultural figure of international renown, Ai Weiwei is an activist, architect, curator, filmmaker, and China’s most famous artist. Open in his criticism of the Chinese government, Ai was famously detained for months in 2011, then released to house arrest. “I don’t see myself as a dissident artist,” he says, “I see them as a dissident government!” Some of Ai Weiwei’s best known works are installations, often tending towards the conceptual and sparking dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production. He studied animation at the Beijing Film Academy, then studied art in New York in the early 80s. Upon returning to China a decade later, Ai Weiwei advocated for experimental artists by publishing underground books and curating avant-garde exhibitions.
Study of Perspective – White House:
Study of Perspective was presented in the controversial art exhibition, “Fuck Off”, which ran alongside the Third Shanghai Biennale in 2000. This piece is an iconic example of a larger body of work by Ai Weiwei that melds art and activism, and is an overt critical response to the political climate in the United States.
Study of Perspective is a series of images shot between 1995 and 2003 that shows the artist directing a raised middle finger at various buildings across the globe, either landmarks or symbols of authority. The gesture, captured in a snapshot aesthetic, confronts its viewer with a universal and concise statement of Ai Weiwei’s political opposition.
The Skateroom is a platform for promoting, selling, and producing art on skateboards. It supports youth empowerment and development. Proceeds from this project will benefit Skateistan, an award-winning international non-profit with projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. Skateistan is the first international development initiative to combine skateboarding with educational outcomes.