February 1, 2013

Ai Weiwei: Wonderful Dissident, Terrible Artist

Jed Perl, The New Republic

AP Photo

Although Ai is a darling of journalists and editorialists around the world, his work may be a little overly explicit for some connoisseurs of late modernism or postmodernism, better suited to Art and America and The New York Times than to the pages of October. I suspect that many museum professionals in Europe and the United States who have supported Ai's projects also regard him with a slight condescension, as something of an artistic naïf, albeit an extraordinarily self-possessed naïf. His paradoxes lack the house-of-mirrors richness that is admired in Bruce Nauman's Clown Torture videos, in Cindy Sherman's recent photographs of aging upper-class suburban housewives, and in William Kentridge's scratch-pad films. There is much that is blunt and programmatic about Ai's ideas...

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TAGGED: China, Ai Weiwei

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