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"Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshorn" June 28, 2017 - January 1, 2018. Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden


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Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn  June 28, 2017 thru January 1, 2018

"Ai Weiwei’s monumental installation Trace portrays individuals from around the world whom the artist and various human rights groups consider to be activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech. Each of these 176 portraits comprises thousands of plastic LEGO® bricks, assembled by hand and laid out on the floor. The work foregrounds Ai Weiwei’s own experiences of incarceration, interrogation, and surveillance. In 2011, he was detained by the Chinese government for eighty-one days and then prohibited from traveling abroad until 2015."

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An interesting show at the Hirshhorn, certainly worthwhile for fans of Ai Weiwei.  A series of large panels are laid out on the floor featuring collage-style pixelated images of human rights activists who have been targeted by various authoritarian regimes around the world, all made out of Lego.  There is a heavy focus on Chinese, SE Asian and Middle Eastern activists.  Along the gallery wall is a wallpaper style mural of surveillance cameras.  Each panel has an accompanying touch screen monitor detailing the history of each activist. Much of it is sobering.     


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