Ai Weiwei : According to What? at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., 2012.
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As you enter the exhibit at the Hirshhorn, you are immediately met with the sound of students’ names being read aloud in a recording broadcasted overhead. The names are also written in Chinese along the wall. Ai Weiwei has compiled a list of over 5,200 names of students killed in what he calls “tofu” or shoddily constructed schools during the 2008 earthquake. What message is he sending to the government about their response to this disaster?
What kind of message is Ai Weiwei sending about the role of ancient and modern culture in China by dropping and coloring traditional Chinese vases?
How does this represent Ai Weiwei’s experiences with the Chinese government?
Why did Ai Weiwei create such controversial pieces of art? Would his message be similar or different if it were projected through writings? Discuss.