Ai Weiwei, internationally renowned artist and activist, uses art in a variety of ways, including to challenge the Chinese government and to comment on the superficiality of consumer culture. He is perhaps most well-known for his "Bird's Nest" collaboration with architects Herzog & de Meuron—a stadium he co-designed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and later said he regretted because, "It was merely a stage for a political party to advertise its glory to the world."
Ai Weiwei has dedicated himself to preserving human rights and freedom. He uses the Internet to spread information that the government has tried to hide and makes political statements with his art. The Chinese government has made many attempts to silence him, including destroying his studio, physically beating him, detaining him for 81 days, putting him under house arrest and constant surveillance, and confiscating his passport. Despite oppression, Ai Weiwei cannot be deterred.
His upcoming exhibition, "@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz," will center on issues of human rights, activism, and incarceration with seven site-specific installations, including "Trace," a giant lego portrait of 176 political prisoners from around the world. The exhibition will be on view from Sept. 27 - April 26. Before you admire his newest work, do your homework and familiarize yourself with 20 Ai Weiwei Pieces You Should Know.