Please pardon my obnoxious blue iPhone case in the reflections. I was thoroughly impressed not only by the photographs, but also the curation. If able, check out the show before it comes down this weekend. Ai Weiwei is able to show you the city when it still had its grit through an uber specific lens and shares the intimate lifestyle of Chinese expatriates in NYC.
[Information: ASIA SOCIETY]At the age of 24, Ai Weiwei left China for New York. He had already shown his work in the now famous Stars exhibition in Beijing in 1979, the first avant-garde exhibition after the end of the Cultural Revolution. He studied for a time at Parsons while living in Brooklyn and then the East Village and Lower East Side. During his decade in New York, Ai Weiwei took nearly 10,000 photographs. This exhibition is the first occasion in the United States to see a selection from this previously unknown archive.
Although Ai Weiwei may not have been well-known to the New York art world at the time, he was a central figure for the Chinese artistic community. At the time there was little or no interest in contemporary Chinese art, yet it was a period when an increasing number of expatriate Chinese artists and intellectuals arrived in new York. Ai Weiwei’s apartment became a meeting place for this growing Chinese artistic diaspora. Academy award-winning composer Tan Dun, film director Chen Kaige, and fellow artist Xu Bing all appear in his photographs. These leading Chinese figues would return to China only after establishing their international reputations.