YAM to screen documentary about Chinese artist Ai Weiwei

2013-01-04T00:15:00Z YAM to screen documentary about Chinese artist Ai Weiwei The Billings Gazette

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," a film depicting the life and work of the noted contemporary Chinese artist, is being shown on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Yellowstone Art Museum.

Film screening is included in museum admission.

Named by ArtReview as the most powerful artist in the world, Ai Weiwei is China's most celebrated contemporary artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. In April, 2011, when Ai disappeared into police custody for three months, he quickly became China’s most famous missing person, having first risen to international prominence in 2008 after helping design Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium and then publicly denouncing the Games as party propaganda.

Since then, Ai’s critiques of China’s repressive regime have ranged from playful photographs of his raised middle finger in front of Tiananmen Square to searing memorials of the more than 5,000 schoolchildren who died because of shoddy government construction in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Against a backdrop of strict censorship, Ai has become a kind of Internet champion. His frequent witty use of his blog and Twitter, helps him organize, inform, and inspire his followers, becoming an underground hero to millions of Chinese citizens.

First-time director Alison Klayman gained access to the charismatic artist, as well as his family and others close to him, while working as a journalist in Beijing. In the years she filmed, government authorities shut down Ai’s blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention; while Time magazine named him a runner-up for 2011’s Person of the Year.

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