Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ai WeiWei at Haus der Kunst, Munich

Munich's Haus der Kunst is quite likely the best-curated exhibit space in the world right now, and they've demonstrated it yet again with an outstanding show by Ai WeiWei called "So sorry."
Ai is really one of the more interesting artists working right now, producing work that's both visually challenging as well as politically charged. Not surprisingly, he's run afoul of the Chinese government on more than a few occasions, being harassed, beaten and arrested for the challenge he presents to the ruling order in that country. His work makes a strong statement about the value of culture and community, and about the destruction of both by the state. While it's specific to the Chinese situation, its real power comes from the fact that it could be applied with equal validity in other countries — like the U.S., of course, which is equally culpable when it comes to allowing culture (and collective memory/experience) to be sacrificed, though in our case the sacrifice is usually made to market forces rather that state power. That said, those two are becoming increasingly indivisible, as the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC demonstrates...

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