Yesterday evening, I met a group of other women for a class
at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where we were to examine and sketch
the layouts for numerous still life paintings in the IMA's collection.
While I enjoyed our conversation and became engrossed
in my sketches of a couple paintings, the high point was when
I got off the escalator to the second floor of the museum
and found Ai Weiwei's 2003 installation, Forever, at the entrance
to the second floor galleries.
Of course, I'd seen photos of the piece in
numerous art publications, but encountering its gleaming self
here, in Indy, was special. I only had the opportunity to take a couple
of pictures, but I enjoyed the rhythm of the bicycle frames and wheels,
the contrast in size, and the shadows cast onto the floor;
Ai Weiwei had taken an everyday object and turned
it into something else, had given it deeper meaning.
We here in the United States may be barely aware of Ai Weiwei
as an artist, but very aware of him as a dissident voice in his own country,
where he has been openly critical of the Chinese government and their
positions on democracy and human rights. We may also be more aware
of him as the designer of the "Bird's Nest" stadium, the main arena
for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Forever is at the IMA as a precursor to the exhibition,
Ai Weiwei: According to What? which will feature over 30 of his works,
including models for the "Bird's Nest." The exhibition opens
April 5th and will remain until July 32, 2013.