what a bad-ass: Ai Weiwei

An artist with superb craftsmanship, timing and most of all for me, a witty and seemingly constant sense of humor, Ai Weiwei is the biggest bad-ass artist working today. 
detail of Ai Weiwei sculpture installation
It's not just that he critically examines his Chinese government; he critically examines all government and demands accountability. It's his persistent clear voice that cannot be denied. And ultimately, thanks to his poetic images and objects that quietly and relentlessly declare better of humanity, he'll always have the last word. 

Detail of Ai Weiwei installation, Straight, commemorating school children
One Ai Weiwei sculpture is displayed in front of the Sol Lewitt mural on the main wall of museum first floor, making it delightfully easy to consider relationships of minimalism, light and form between the two works.

Ai Weiwei sculpture in front of Sol Lewitt mural
Walk around the works spanning more than 20 years of Ai Weiwei's "According to What?" exhibition and let his insight make you shake your head, nod your head and giggle a few times. 

I did. 

Near that mural is a separate gallery space loaded with thousands of photographs rotating on multiple screens. Be sure to spend a few minutes in there and see some of the ongoing themes in Ai Weiwei's work.

My favorite is the only piece he made when he lived in New York in 1988. It's the most modest in scale but so simple and clever of a sculpture that you have to appreciate it. When you go, look for it and let me know what you think of it.

And let me know if you think he's bad-ass, too. Or if you don't, what artist would you name as a bigger bad-ass?

me at the entrance of the IMA


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