Ai WeiWei: New York Photographs 1983-1993


Ai Weiwei, outside Tompkins Square Park, 1986.

  • $10
  • $7
  • $5
  • Free

Children under 16 free

Chinese dissident, blogger and political activist Ai WeiWei was released from prison on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 , after two-and-a-half months’ detention in China. This timely exhibition, featuring 227 photographs taken from 1983-1993, when the artist resided in NYC, captures the history, culture and atmosphere of New York from his unique perspective.

Before Ai Weiwei became internationally recognized as an artist and activist, he lived in a tiny apartment in New York’s East Village and was a prominent member of a community of expatriate Chinese artists and intellectuals in the neighborhood’s then-burgeoning avant-garde scene. From 1983 to 1993, the artist used his camera to document his life and work, his surroundings and the atmosphere of the time. The photographs document a distinct era in New York, as seen through Ai Weiwei’s eyes, tracing the beginnings of his conceptual art practice. They depict East Village poetry readings, riots in Tompkins Square Park, drag queens at Wigstock, and well-known artists and intellectuals from China, such as filmmaker Chen Kaige, composer Tan Dun and artist Xu Bing.

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