Ai Weiwei, installation view of “According to What?,” 2013.

Ai Weiwei


Pérez Art Museum Miami

A 2007 ceramic work in Ai Weiwei’s blockbuster exhibition “According to What?” emblazons a Neolithic Chinese vessel with a silver Coca-Cola logo painted over original decorative motifs of people and turtles holding hands. Though this act could be called commercialization or desecration, to me, the work aims to unite popular taste with ancient ties to earth, nature, and humanity. Ai follows this strategy throughout the show, each time calling attention to and transforming something ancient or material, with one exception— a high, long wall crowded with the names of thousands of children killed when poorly built school buildings collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The government tried to cover up Ai’s and other investigations of these unreported deaths and beat the artist so severely that he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 2009. He has been restricted from leaving China for more than three years… see the entire review in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.