Ai Weiwei: Global Artist, Borderless Humanist, Contemporary Emperor
August 16, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm$12
Lecture by Taliesin Thomas
Ai Weiwei is one of the most compelling figures working in the spheres of international art and political activism. His extraordinary range of creative articulation is unparalleled among his peers—from provocative large-scale museum exhibitions that reference traditional Chinese art forms, to candid Instagram posts at impoverished refugee camps around the world, Ai’s fearless spirit is widely recognized as the heart of his artistic practice. In recent years, Ai’s outspoken stance regarding freedom of expression and basic human rights for all people has established him as leader in the conversation concerning humanity today. In honor of the Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold exhibition at the Farnsworth Museum, this public lecture will present a brief overview of Ai’s personal history with a focus on his singular narrative within the field of global contemporary art and beyond.
Taliesin Thomas has worked in the field of contemporary Chinese art since living two years in rural China (1999-2001). Since 2007 she is the founding director of AW Asia in New York. AW Asia is a private arts organization that promotes the field of contemporary Chinese art through institutional loans, museum acquisitions, curatorial projects, and publishing. Thomas works closely with Ai Weiwei’s studio to oversee the management of the Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads (2010) sculpture series and world tour. Thomas has lectured widely on contemporary Chinese art including The Ringling Museum of Art, FL; The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, CA; School of Visual Arts, NY; The Warhol Museum, PA; Brattleboro Museum, VT; University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; and the Universidade de Lisboa/Faculdade de Belas-Artes, Lisbon, Portugal; Bennington College, VT; and the former Chelsea Art Museum, NY. She has published in ARTPULSE magazine, Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (JCCA), and ArtAsiaPacific magazine. Thomas holds an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Columbia University and she is a Ph.D. candidate in Art Theory and Philosophy with the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts concurrent with her professional role in the art world.