Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei Exhibition Now Open

A perfect pairing of two great artists’ work has resulted in the largest display of Andy Warhol’s work to ever come to Melbourne, and a selection of world-first new commissions by one of the most significant contemporary artists and activists of our time, Ai Weiwei, in Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, now open at NGV International.

It is the largest international exhibition that the NGV has opened, and houses rare and never-before-seen Warhol works and as well as five new commissions by Ai Weiwei, who was in Melbourne to launch the exhibition last week.

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Ai Weiwei 2012. Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

 

One of the new commissions by Ai Weiwei, Letgo Room, which incorporates more than two million plastic building blocks featuring portraits of twenty Australian activists, advocates and champions of human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of information and freedom of the internet. Portrait subjects include Julian Assange, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Peter Greste, Professor Gillian Triggs, Rosie Batty, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, Archie Roach, Julian Burnside AO QC and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.

Ai Weiwei announced at the opening of Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei that he will make Letgo Room, 2015 his gift to the National Gallery of Victoria.

The work was commission by the NGV especially for the exhibition, and in weeks leading up to launch, a team of local volunteers and arts students installed the portraits on Ai’s behalf.

The work represents Ai’s long-standing commitment to freedom of expression and human rights, which is variously manifest in his work as an artist, social commentator, activist and public intellectual.

These works sit alongside spectacular new projects by Ai Weiwei including the awe-inspiring installation of 1500 bicycles from his Forever Bicycles series, which we were lucky enough to watch being put together – it’s a breathtaking installation of nearly 1500 tessellating bicycles. There is also a sparkling five metre-tall work from Ai’s Chandelier series – an imposing chandelier made of hundreds of crystals and lights. There is so much more to see – we recommend experiencing the exhibition in two parts, with sustenance in between.

As part of the Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition, the kid friendly Studio Cats opens daily, and is a tribute to both artists’ shared love for their feline friends. Entry to Studio Cats is free.

Andy Warhol | Ai Wei Wei is now open at the National Gallery of Victoria until 24 April 2016. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the NGV website.

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957– Forever Bicycles, 2011, installation view at Taipei Fine Arts Museum Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei
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Andy Warhol American 1928–87 Self-Portrait 1966–67 acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas 55.9 x 55.9 cm The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

 

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Andy Warhol American 1928–87 Debbie Harry 1980 acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen 106.7 x 106.7 cm The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

 

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957– Williamsburg, Brooklyn 1983 from the New York Photographs series 1983‒93 silver gelatin photograph Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei

 

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Andy Warhol American 1928–87 Self-Portrait with Skull 1977 PolaroidTM Polacolor Type 108 10.8 x 8.6 cm The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. 1998.1.2866 © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

 

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957- S.A.C.R.E.D. 2011-13 Ai Weiwei Studio
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Steve Schapiro Andy Warhol Under the Silver Cloud Pillow, New York 1965 © Steve Schapiro; Andy Warhol artwork © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

 

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957– Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China 1995 from the Study of Perspective series 1995–2011 gelatin silver photograph various dimensions Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei

 

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Steve Schapiro Andy Warhol Entourage Triptych, New York 1965 © Steve Schapiro

 

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957– Ai Weiwei with cat, @aiww, Instagram, 2006 Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei

 

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957– Ai Weiwei with Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds, @aiww, Instagram, 2015 Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei; Andy Warhol artwork © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

 

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957– Coloured Vases 2006 Neolithic vases (5000-3000 BC) and industrial paint dimensions variable Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei

 

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Ai Weiwei Chinese 1957– Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn 1995 3 silver gelatin photographs 148.0 x 120.0 cm each (triptych) Ai Weiwei Studio © Ai Weiwei

 

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Andy Warhol Elvis 1963 synthetic polymer paint screenprinted onto canvas 208 x 91 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1973 © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

 

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Ai Weiwei 2009 Image courtesy Ai Weiwei studio

 

Pictured at top: Andy Warhol American 1928–87 Silver Liz [Ferus Type] 1963 silkscreen ink, acrylic, and spray paint on linen 101.6 x 101.6 cmThe Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

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