The National Gallery of Victoria today announced that Ai Weiwei — one of China’s most provocative artists with a huge international following — will be in conversation at a public event on Monday night and at the gala opening next Thursday night.
The exhibition brings together two giants of the art world, Weiwei and Andy Warhol, for the biggest international contemporary show in NGV history.
ABC journalist Virginia Trioli will host the public talk from 6.30pm at NGV International, on St Kilda Rd.
Weiwei has achieved international fame for his larger-than-life artwork tackling cultural and social issues, and his social media posts attract headlines around the world.
He most recently created a global response after announcing that Lego had refused his bulk order for its toy bricks, intended to be turned into a new artwork for the Melbourne show.
Donations of Lego bricks started pouring in from fans around the world, including Melbourne, and there is now a BMW parked in the NGV garden, full to the roof with Lego.
In a statement Lego said it refrained from engaging in or endorsing the use of its products in projects with a political agenda. Weiwei is now going to use the donated Lego for a different artwork, yet-to-be-announced.
Some of the issues his work addresses include tradition versus modernity, the role of the individual and the state, human rights, and freedom of expression.
He will present several new major installations in Melbourne, including a sculpture of 1800 bikes from his Forever Bicycle and another featuring hundreds of crystal lights from his Chandelier series.
More than 300 works make up the exhibition which is expected to draw huge crowds. The Warhol pieces include some of his most iconic works such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Liz Taylor portraits as well as his famous Campbell’s soup can images.