For me, modern art is a mixed bag - and I appreciate that using the term 'modern art' makes me sound massively out of touch. I am a big art fan, and I enjoy many styles and types of artistic expression. I don't always need to understand the deeper meaning of some of the more current artists, somethings are just awesome to look at. However some things I struggle to appreciate - the entire catalogue of Tracey Emin for example. It takes fuck-all artistic talent to do what she does - and she gets annoyingly well paid for it.
This entry is focusing on Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei. From an artistic point of view, I am on the fence. Some of his work is excellent - he's the man behind the 'Bird's Nest' Olympic Stadium in Beijing. Other work is, well, an acquired taste. But it is always interesting and thought provoking. From a non-artistic point of view - I'd fuck his brains out suck him into a coma.
He is Beijing based and fiercely critical of the Chinese Government. Expect him to suddenly vanish any day now. His dislike for the Chinese government is reciprocated and there have been several clashes. Not only is the guy insanely cuddly, he is also fairly awesome. He has repeatedly managed to violate Chinese censorship laws regarding internet availability and managed to sneak onto Twitter. He put his jury-rigged internet access to good use too. In 2008, the Sichuan province of China suffered an earthquake. Due to the shitty building work done in the area, a lot of students were killed in the schools during the quake. The government press releases massively downplayed the casualty rate (something along the lines of 'some gerbils didn't make it') in fear of the world actually seeing how corrupt building officials actually are. Ai Weiwei and friends investigated and published a list of 5385 students who were killed. Not surprisingly, the Chinese government were a little annoyed and tore his blog down. When one of his fellow investigators was arrested, Ai tried to testify at his trial. For his bother, he was severely beaten by the police (which resulted in a cerebral hemorrhage).
Most recently he had an installation at the Tate Modern, London. Which involved a lot of porcelain sunflower seeds (100 Million (I counted) handcrafted and painted seeds) scattered on the floor. The idea being that you could