From 1981 to 1993 artist Ai Weiwei lived in New York. He studied at Parsons School of Design and at the Art Students League of New York. During this time he made photographs and sculptures about the world around him. Issues of poverty, gentrification, influence and class made there way into his art.
As is highlighted in the new documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, his work was also influenced by HIV/AIDS.
His first solo exhibition in New York City was entitled Old Shoes Safe Sex (Ethan Cohen Gallery) and included work about the then emerging crisis. His photographic work from the time contain images from ACT UP demonstrations. His sculptures speak to the anxiety the virus was creating in people.
Now famous the world over for his blend of activism and artistry, it is interesting to note the fundamental role HIV/AIDS and the action it engendered had on him as he was coming into his own as an artist.
|Safe Sex, 1986|