NYU Florence visits Ai Weiwei.Libero at Palazzo Strozzi

Photo by Batel Mann, NYU Florence Student
Photo by Batel Mann, NYU Florence Student

NYU Florence students gathered at the Palazzo Strozzi for a talk on the Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The exhibition was curated by Arturo Galansino, Director of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, who joined Pato Hebert and Hentyle Yapp, both contemporary artists and professors of Art and Public Policy at NYU, for a discussion on Ai Weiwei’s work and the significance of bringing his work to Florence. After the talk students were given a private tour at Palazzo Strozzi of Ai Weiwei.Libero, the biggest exhibition of the artist’s work in Italy. Transformed from mundane to imaginative, various objects representative of different events in Weiwei’s life were displayed, including handcuffs and plastic coat-hangers from when he was detained by the Chinese government for 81 days with no charges. The exhibit dealt primarily with Weiwei’s life as a political activist for democracy in China, but students also got to see an exposition of Weiwei’s early work as a photographer in New York. But even here the shadow of Ai Weiwei’s activist life lingered. As the exhibit opened into a side-room, footage from a hidden camera during an informal police hearing about Weiwei’s detention was playing. The exhibit ended at 10:00 p.m.

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