Ai Weiwei

This spring/summer, the Skirball invites you to delve into the life and work of Ai Weiwei. One of the world’s most socially engaged artists, Ai Weiwei has confronted issues ranging from the global refugee crisis to government censorship. Known for challenging the political status quo, he was detained by the Chinese government for eighty-one days in 2011 and then prohibited from traveling abroad until 2015. His position as a dissident artist has informed the tenor and reception of much of his recent work.

In anticipation of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace at the Skirball, immerse yourself in the art and activism of Ai Weiwei with engaging programs and resources you can experience from home.
 

Donor Support

The exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace and its related educational programs are made possible by support from the following Lead Donor:

Steve Tisch Family Foundation

Along with generous support from the following donors:

Billie B. and Steven G. Fischer Foundation
Chara Schreyer and Gordon Freund

  • Ai Weiwei

    A Conversation with Ai Weiwei

    Virtual Talk

    Now streaming on YouTube

    FREE

    In this rare speaking engagement, hear from celebrated visual artist, filmmaker, and political activist Ai Weiwei as he explores his vast body of work in the context of social justice. Imprisoned by Chinese authorities in 2011 without cause, Ai has dedicated his life and career to speaking out against human-rights violations around the globe. In this virtual conversation with Skirball curator Yael Lipschutz, Ai discusses how he views the interconnectivity of human suffering as stemming from cultural and economic systems that value profit rather than human life. Yet Ai Weiwei, in his own words, reminds us that although the world's problems are deep and complex, “we hope for the better.”

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  • Ai Weiwei: Trace—Skirball Curator Talk

    Virtual Talk

    Now streaming on YouTube

    FREE

    Tune in to this virtual talk with Skirball curator Yael Lipschutz and learn about the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace, which features more than eighty portraits by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. Made from thousands of plastic LEGO® bricks and originally hand-assembled by hundreds of volunteers, the portraits in Trace depict individuals who—like the artist himself—have been detained, exiled, or have sought political asylum because of their actions, beliefs, or affiliations. Lipschutz shares insights about the installation of the exhibition at the Skirball and discusses the creation and history of the project. Stream the presentation below. 

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  • Vivos (2020)

    Bearing Witness

    Documentary Films by Ai Weiwei | Videos on Demand

    Now streaming

    Rent: $5; Buy: $15

    Get to know Ai Weiwei as a documentary filmmaker! Newly released to general audiences, the following films provide a harrowing look at life in times of crisis. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of human rights issues around the world.

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  • Ai Weiwei Mobile Guide

    Ai Weiwei: Trace—Mobile Guide

    Available now

    FREE

    Explore the Skirball’s presentation of Ai Weiwei: Trace online! Created by Ai Weiwei (b. Beijing, 1957), one of the world’s most provocative and socially engaged artists, the exhibition—which features three of the original installation’s six floor panels—portrays individuals from more than twenty-five countries around the world whom the artist and various human rights groups consider to be activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech.

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Lego art project

Art Activity: Hero Portraits

Create your own hero portrait inspired by the renderings of activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech found in the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Trace! Think of someone you admire for standing up and speaking out about the causes they believe in. Then, using small colorful objects, assemble your hero's portrait to celebrate how they inspire you to be the best version of yourself.

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Gold wall paper from Trace exhibitionAi Weiwei: Trace

2021 opening date TBA

Ai Weiwei: Trace honors activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech from around the world. Created in 2014, while Ai Weiwei was under house arrest, the exhibition resonates with the artist’s own experiences of incarceration and life under government surveillance.

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