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Warhol/Ai Weiwei exhibit to debut in Australia in Dec.

Ai Weiwei, 'At the Museum of Modern Art,' 1987 (detail), from the 'New York Photographs' series 1983–93, Collection of Ai Weiwei, © Ai Weiwei; Andy Warhol artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc.
Ai Weiwei, ‘At the Museum of Modern Art,’ 1987 (detail), from the ‘New York Photographs’ series 1983–93, Collection of Ai Weiwei, © Ai Weiwei; Andy Warhol artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc.

PITTSBURGH – The Andy Warhol Museum announces, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, a major international exhibition featuring two significant artists of the 20th and 21st centuries—Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. “Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei” opens at NGV in December 2015, and at The Warhol in June 2016.

“Andy Warhol / Ai Weiwei,” developed by the NGV and The Warhol, with the participation of Ai Weiwei, explores the significant influence of these two artists on modern and contemporary life, focusing on the parallels, intersections and points of difference between their practices—Warhol representing 20th-century modernity and the “American century,” and Weiwei representing life in the 21st century and what has been called the “Chinese century” to come.

At The Warhol, the exhibition creates an often dissonant and at times sympathetic dialogue between the artists, throughout the seven floors of the building. The artists share a capacity to engage a multitude of media, using it as a means to become keen observers of contemporary culture and politics. Viewers experience major works in drawings, moving image, new media, photography, painting and sculpture, and they have a chance to consider the major contributions by both artists, each of whom is as famous for his artistic persona as for the work he produced. The museum and Ai Weiwei are engaged in a new public art project at Pittsburgh’s 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival and are also partnering with Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum to create a focused set of programs and events, exploring the relationships between political activism, freedom of expression, and art making in this ever more globalized world.

The NGV exhibition presents more than 300 works, including major new commissions—such as a new installation from Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles series and a monumental memorial work from his chandelier series—immersive installations, and a wide representation of both artists’ paintings, sculpture, film, photography, publishing and social media, as well as more than 500 Polaroid images documenting Warhol’s friends, colleagues, and artistic and social milieux.

Andy Warhol (Pittsburgh, 1928–New York, 1987) was a leading protagonist in the development of pop art, and his influence extended beyond the world of fine art and into music, film, television, celebrity, publishing and popular culture. Warhol created defining iconography of the late 20th century through his exploration of consumer society, fame and celebrity, media, advertising, politics and capital.

Ai Weiwei (Beijing 1957– ) is an artist and social activist working in China. His work encompasses diverse fields including visual art, architecture, publishing and curatorial practice, cultural criticism, social media and activism. Ai Weiwei’s work addresses some of the most critical global issues of the early 21st century, including the relationship between tradition and modernity, the role of the individual and the state, questions of human rights, and the value of freedom of expression.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.