The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Australia has announced an international exhibition that will compare and contrast the Pop Art protagonist Andy Warhol and the contemporary iconoclast Ai Weiwei, with a few child-friendly highlights.
Covering the scope of both artists’ careers, the show will present more than 300 works, among them installations, new commissions (including a new installation from Ai’s Forever Bicycles series) and a wide range of media, including, in the case of Ai Weiwei, social media.
For organisers, Warhol represents 20th-century modernity and the “American century,” Ai contemporary life in the 21st century and the possible “Chinese century” to come.
Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei opens Dec 11 at the NGV in Melbourne before heading to The Warhol in Pittsburgh in the US for a June 2016 opening there. It was developed by the two institutions with the participation of Ai Weiwei, who called the side-by-side show “a great privilege for me as an artist.”
Ai says The Philosophy Of Andy Warhol (From A To B And Back Again) was the first book he purchased while living in New York in the 1980s, and he has drawn inspiration from Warhol’s conceptual approach.
Among the other parallels the exhibition will draw is the two artists’ affinity for cats, the focus of a large-scale installation for kids and families.
Warhol lived with a “herd” of Siamese cats in the 1950s, all but one of which were named Sam, and he depicted them frequently in his work; Ai Weiwei’s studio houses more than 30 cats he regularly mentions on social media and in blog posts.
Ai Weiwei is developing a children’s project for the show that will reflect his interest in cats, and he’ll also create an interactive feature allowing young visitors to take a Warhol-inspired image and share it via social media. A children’s art book about the two artists will be released to coincide with the exhibition. – Relaxnews
Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei runs Dec 11 to April 24, 2016 at the NGV International, Melbourne, and from June to Aug 2016 at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the United States.