The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., has opened the first major North American retrospective devoted to the artwork of dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. While the show — “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” — has received glowing reviews from art critics and visitors alike, the artist himself will probably never get to see it.
“We had always hoped that he would be here for the opening,” explains Kerry Brougher, chief curator at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. “Unfortunately, as we were in the middle of working with Ai Weiwei on the exhibition, he was arrested in China and incarcerated for 81 days.”
Using the show as a backdrop, Reason TV recounts Ai Weiwei’s ongoing efforts to speak out in a country where freedoms are sharply curtailed. Without the benefit of a passport, Weiwei has increasingly turned to the internet to engage the wider world. He has found a receptive audience waiting for him.