Ai Weiwei

Offbeat Adventures in San Francisco

Presented by New Belgium Brewing

San Francisco feels like a city built specifically for oddballs after offbeat adventures. Starting with the Gold Rush waaaay back in 1849 through the counterculture and hippie movement of the ’60s, to the current tech-sector mass migration, SF has proved to be a hotspot for gung-ho weirdos. What follows is our list of suggestions for modern-day urban explorers with a taste for the left-of-center. They all serve as fantastic support for New Belgium’s wacky Tour de Fat, an annual celebration of “bikes, beer & bemusement,” that lands Saturday, September 13th at Golden Gate Park with headliner Reggie Watts and thousands of local cycling enthusiasts. … Read More

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How Ai Weiwei’s Alcatraz Project Changes the Meaning of Prisons as Public Art Sites

The New York Times makes it seem like a match made in heaven: “Ai Weiwei was one of the most famous prisoners in recent history. Now he’s taking on one of the most infamous prisons of all time” — that prison being Alcatraz, the San Francisco facility that was closed down in 1963 and turned into a famous tourist destination. The piece goes on to report that the renowned Chinese dissident artist chose the location because he is “interested in exploring conditions in which individuals are stripped of basic human rights,” but that Ai is “not thinking about work that will directly connect to my own detention” by the Chinese government in 2011. … Read More

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The Year in Film: The 25 Best Movies of 2012

2012’s finest films reflected ambition, risk, and advocacy. They boldly redrew the maps of genre, freshly examined the creative process, and dared us to contemplate our own mortality. And, in more traditional terms, they made us laugh, and cry, and feel alive. These are the best films of… Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. As predicted, this was the best Thanksgiving box office weekend ever. Was it because the slate of films was a lot better than it usually is, or just the diversity of the the offerings? [via Buzzfeed]

2. That’s one way not to be invited back to China: Elton John dedicated the show… Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds in Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we practiced the art of the out of office email. We found out how many balloons it would take to lift our apartments into the air. We wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, Twin Peaks-style, and then we imagined a Breaking Bad Thanksgiving. We watched … Read More

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The Morning's Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Earlier today Tina Brown announced that after 80 years as a print publication, Newsweek will move to an all-digital format beginning next year. The new incarnation of the magazine, Newsweek Global, will be available to readers through a paid subscription model. [via Media Decoder]

2. There’s not a whole lot to see… Read More

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10 Contemporary Artists Who Use Furniture as a Medium

With the rise of such colossal icons of 20th century modernist style as Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and Frank Gehry, the boundary between design and art became blurred, especially for everyday objects like furniture. The form and function of furniture design garnered recognition as an important aesthetic factor of built space. Wright was sometimes so meticulous in his architectural designs that they not only included accompanying site-specific furniture, but custom-designed clothing to match the look and feel of the building as well.

Consequently, this modernist obsession with elevating industrial design to an art form has also led to an explosion of movements and styles that find artistic meaning and expression through design’s functionality. Below is a list of 10 interesting contemporary artists creating sculptures that either make use of or play on the idea of furniture, provoking us to think about the relationship between habitable space, industrial design, and art. … Read More

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10 Famous Artists Who Should Have Their Own Reality TV Show

“For the past three years I’ve been an intern at Eli Klein Fine Art,” says one of the characters on Bravo’s Gallery Girls by way of introduction. This should give you a good idea of what the reality series, which premieres Monday at 10 pm, entails: a handful of pretty young women trying to make their way in the New York art world despite multiple indications that it may not be the best path for them. Pitting the blonde Upper East Siders with fabulously wealthy parents and apparently permanent internships against Brooklyn brunettes on the verge of opening their own gallery/boutique (also with the help of family money), its relationship to art is roughly the same as The Hills’ was to journalism.

In other words, if you like to watch rich girls pick fights with each other and call their dads while soaking in a bubble bath (really), Gallery Girls is for you. But its lack of actual art world relevance got us thinking about what kinds of art-related reality shows we’d rather see — along with Bravo’s fun competition series, Work of Art, of course. It occurred to us that there is no shortage of fascinating, entertaining, and controversial personalities in contemporary art, so we hope you’ll excuse us for mixing the highbrow with the low in this list of famous artists who would make great reality stars. … Read More

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Is Ai Weiwei’s Twitter More Important Than His Art?

“Twitter is the most important medium of our time,” Ai Weiwei proclaims in Alison Klayman’s new documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, and he demonstrates this repeatedly over the course of the next 91 minutes. He is China’s most famous contemporary artist, the most displeasing to its authorities, and the most accessible to the international public, both through his art and… on Twitter.

When Ai Weiwei infamously disappeared in 2011, the documentary, which Klayman first began work on as a favor to a friend, was already completed. Only the final portion of the film, edited after the fact, includes the 80 days Ai Weiwei spent under the arrest at an undisclosed location in solitary confinement, his convoluted, demonstratively suspect investigation, and the censorship and surveillance forced upon him after his eventual release — most importantly, Ai’s compulsory Twitter self-censorship… for a second there. … Read More

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