Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry and Muse

Of the many events I'll be participating in this Fall, I'm most looking forward to the Muse Film & Television Gala, focused this year on the film Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry. (note, the website is a "holder" site, with a new one coming soon) directed by Alison Klayman. Big disclaimer: I am on the board of this nonprofit organization, so I am biased, but I can honestly say that I'd attend this Gala even if I wasn't. For those of you who don't know the Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, he is one of the more important, and more well-known, living Chinese artists today. He is also a social activist, quite controversial and quite the Twitter user. From the Muse website:

Scholar, dissident, patriot, artist or activist— who is Ai Weiwei?  This much is certain: since his co-design of the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the Beijing Olympics, Ai Weiwei has catapulted to the forefront of the international art landscape, generating almost as much discomfort for his antics as admiration for his courage.

Whether smashing millenia-old Han Dynasty urns, or confronting Chinese police over a beating he received for investigating the Sichuan earthquake deaths, or turning a Twitter-advertised dinner party into a political action event, Ai Weiwei remains fearlessly outspoken, despite considerable danger to himself.  Willfully turning a blind eye to the very eye the Chinese government has relentlessly trained on him, he advocates for freedom of expression and access to information– principles all the more fragile and precious as China undergoes its remarkable internal transformation.

Ai Wei Wei was recently featured in an excellent New Yorker article, and I highly recommend you get to know his work. Actually, if you saw the Olympics, you already do - he was the co-designer of the Bird's Nest auditorium. This video ran with the article, and gives a good intro:

Ai Wei Wei will be attending the Gala, along with many other outstanding artists and art/film world folks. The tickets are expensive - it is a fundraiser after all, but they are tax deductible and benefit a great organization. Muse Film & Television is one of the only organizations dedicated to making films about art and artists. While this film has a "social issue" and technology bent to it, many of their films are less overtly political, but equally important. Muse is a producer of this film, and they have a great track record, so the film should be pretty incredible. The Gala will feature an auction of many great artworks, dinners, vacations and more. There will be an online auction at Charity Buzz, but I don't have that link yet. If you have time, join me at the Gala, and if not - follow the film from their website. Or, just follow Muse on Twitter - they send out some great news and info about art, artists and culture.

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