Ai Weiwei

Perhaps the best known contemporary artist of the present day, as well as the most controversial, Ai Weiwei's (Chinese, b. 1957) oeuvre spans a plethora of mediums: sculpture, photography, filmmaking, and architecture. Irreverent and unafraid of making waves, he boldly takes on the topics of nationalism, politics, consumerism, and the rise of globalism in his work, leading to several clashes with the Chinese government and his temporary house arrest in 2010. Weiwei's work regularly adopts and reimagines traditional Chinese crafts, such as porcelain, gongsh ("scholar rocks"), decorative arts, and bronze statuary. His architectural achievements include the erection of the Bird's Nest for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

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