Seemingly contrasting themes of tradition and modernity are critical to the work of Ai Weiwei. Internationally heralded as one of the most important cultural figures of our time, the Chinese-born artist and activist champions free speech and global human rights through his sculpture, installations, film, photography and his widely-followed social media presence. In the last year alone, he has mounted critically acclaimed exhibitions in London, Helsinki, Paris, Melbourne, Florence and New York. His work—through a never-ending variety of materials and forms—communicates important concepts about his life, his homeland and the world.
Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens: Natural State is the artist's first exhibition at a botanical garden and sculpture park anywhere in the world, and his premiere solo presentation in the upper Midwest. Working with the sculpture and horticulture departments at Meijer Gardens over the past two years, Ai Weiwei has carefully developed a large-scale exhibition intended to share profound ideas through innovative artwork. In addition to four sculpture galleries, the artist has filled four conservatories and numerous public areas of the building with his unique work. Combined, it's an exhibition of unprecedented scope, presenting both iconic and recently created work.
Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens: Natural State is an exceptional exhibition in scale and meaning, with more than 30 works by one of the most distinguished artists of our time. From galleries to conservatories, from public spaces to the auditorium, the transformation of Meijer Gardens is unlike any other project undertaken by the organization. In sharing his biography, ideas and concerns for freedom of speech and human rights, Ai Weiwei is truly a global leader. His sculptures, installations, photography and film engage, challenge and astonish—and remind us, "Art is not an end, but a beginning."
Ai Weiwei at Meijer Gardens: Natural State runs through August 20, 2017.
Courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Find more info at www.meijergardens.org.