According to Who? An Ai Weiwei Retrospective at Hirshhorn Museum

Ai Wei Wei: According To What?

Chinese dissident artist, Ai Wei Wei made his mark in the District again. (Previously, it was with Fragments.) Last October, the Hirshhorn Museum debuted a retrospective exhibit of Ai’s work, which included sculptures, photographs and installations. I was just in time to catch the final day of this exhibit last Sunday. See more pictures of the exhibit on my Flickr page

One bonus that I almost missed during my Sunday visit was…”Cube Light”!

Ai Wei Wei: According To What?

After breezing through the exhibits on the first floor, I was about to the head for the exit when my friend tugged me towards the escalator going upstairs. And that’s when we walked down a hallway, only to find the room in which “Cube Light” was being housed! Imagine a giant cube chandelier with deep orange lights glowing from within, beaming through strings of glass crystals that shyly wink at you. Quite a few visitors sat on the floor along the parameters of the room, dazzled by the lights, the shadows and the glows emanating from “Cube Light”.

This is probably the “prettiest” piece I’ve seen of Ai’s work. The rest of the exhibit is in Ai’s signature voice — metaphorical yet to the point, and at times, almost vulgar. You might even question how some of the installments are even art, but just remember that an Ai Wei Wei exhibit usually isn’t pretty and it isn’t meant to be. As Ai himself once said: “The so-called contemporary art is not a form but a philosophy of society.”

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