Art in Print
Ai Weiwei’s Triumphant Return
In 2011, the controversial artist was detained in Beijing and his passport was confiscated for four years by the Chinese government. This fall marks his triumphant return to New York City with two new gallery shows.
Since the unexpected return of his passport in July 2015, Ai has been making up for lost time, mixing visits to exhibitions of his work with journeys to investigate the refugee crisis. It’s a new, peripatetic phase in his life, which he feels blurs his art with politics to advocate against injustice. The project seems on the surface a change of direction for Ai, but he regards it as part of a continuum with his life and art. His childhood exile in China was a similar experience of dislocation, he explains, as was his decade trying to adjust to life in New York.
His return to New York this month will mark another new phase, as he becomes more comfortable with his former home. He was unable to return to see his well-reviewed 2014 retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, yet after years of feeling remote from the city, he made a short visit this past June, which began to dissolve his unease. Now a wildly successful artists, he is in talks for a major show at the Park Avenue Armory as well as a project with the Public Art Fund. “Maybe it’s because my situation has changed,” he says. “I’m much more relaxed now. I have started to see the best part of the city. It’s so passionate about creativity and new ideas, more than anyplace else in the world.”
British Library explores 20th century maps in new exhibition
Few, if any, cold war historians believe Soviet Russia was ever actively planning to invade Brighton, Hove and Shoreham, but a remarkable map suggests the country’s leaders had been prepared should the opportunity have arisen. The British Library is putting the detailed Soviet military map of Brighton and its surrounding area in Sussex on display as part of an exhibition that opens to the public on Friday.
The library has more than 4m maps in its collection but the exhibition will feature 200 and will aim to tell, for the first time, the history of the 20th century through maps.
The exhibition also shows literature’s Middle-earth maps, drawn by JRR Tolkien and his son, Christopher, to help guide readers of Lord of the Rings through Rohan, Gondor and Mordor. There is also EH Shepard’s pencil-drawn map of the Hundred Acre Wood, complete with Eeyore’s “gloomy place” and the Pooh “trap for heffalumps”, which was first published on the endpapers of AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh in 1926 and is on loan from the V&A Museum.
From the Second World War there is a map produced by the Nazis showing the distribution, by state, of first and second generation immigrants to America. The information would have helped Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda ministry to direct adverts urging the US to stay out of the war.
Show’s lead curator, Tom Harper said the aim was to illustrate the variety of maps and the technology behind them, which in the 20th century, for the first time, were at people’s fingertips. “Maps became important, powerful, objective tools to help navigate the strange, brave new world,” he said.
Via: The Guardian