arcadia university art gallery  
Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn
(Ceramic Works, 5000 BCE - 2010 CE)

February 24 – April 18, 2010

Exhibition Programming

“Under the Hammer”: Lecture by Dr. Charles Merewether
Wednesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m., Arcadia University Theater
Reception immediately following in the gallery. More info.

“Rumors from the Desert”: Lecture by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss
Tuesday, March 23, at 6:30 p.m., Stiteler Auditorium, Murphy Hall. Reception immediately following in the gallery. More info.

Broken Pots, Broken Dreams (2009): Film Screening
and Discussion with the Filmmaker Maris Gillette

Thursday, April 1, at 6:00 p.m., Stiteler Auditorium, Murphy Hall
More info
. Free round-trip shuttle to this event.

“Postures in Clay”: Lecture by Philip Tinari
Thursday, April 1, at 7:00 p.m., Stiteler Auditorium, Murphy Hall
Reception immediately following in the gallery. More info. Free round-trip shuttle to this event.

“Under the Hammer”

MerewetherDr. Charles Merewether will provide an in-depth survey of Ai Weiwei's practice and the critical role his ceramic work has played in its development and significance.

Deeply familiar with the cross-disciplinary evolution of Ai Weiwei's practice, Merewether has published numerous essays about Ai's work and was editor of the first English monograph on the artist, Ai Weiwei - Works: Beijing 1993-2003 (Timezone 8 Ltd, 2003), followed by his book Under Construction: Ai Weiwei (UNSW Press, 2008). Included amongst his many other publications is The Archive (MIT Press, 2006) and forthcoming book on the modern history of looting. Recognized internationally as an expert in contemporary Asian art, he has curated over 20 major exhibitions internationally. Merewether was Deputy Director of the Cultural District (Tourist Development & Investment Co.) in Abu Dhabi (2007-2008) and Arts and Culture Consultant for the Emirates Foundation in the UAE. Between 2004-2006 he was Artistic Director & Curator of the 2006 Biennial of Sydney and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Cross Cultural Research, Australian National University. Collections Curator at the Getty Center in Los Angeles from 1994 to 2004, he has taught at the University of Sydney, Universidad Autonoma in Barcelona, the Ibero-Americana in Mexico City, and the University of Southern California.

“Rumors from the Desert”


Philadelphia-based Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss (b. 1976, Subotica, Serbia) is one of 100 international architects invited by Ai Weiwei (under the aegis of Herzog & de Meuron) to design a villa for Ordos 100, a residential development in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China. With a growth rate of 40%, Ordos has the highest growth rate among the 200 international cities ranked and is currently setting the scale and speed of development within China. In addition to discussing his plans for Villa #62, a structure conceived to collect the changing weather of the desert (pictured), Weiss will reflect on his engagement with Ai Weiwei in developing the project and describe the cultural and disciplinary context of attempting to make a better city in 21st century.

Weiss is the founder of Normal Architecture Office (NAO, Philadelphia) as well as co-founder of School of Missing Studies, a network for cultural and urban research. His recent book Almost Architecture (published by Merz & Solitude and kuda.nao, 2007) explores the roles of architecture vis-à-vis democratic processes, abrupt political changes, and architectural appearance of post-communist ideologies.

An Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art & Architecture at Temple University, Weiss lectures at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Goldsmiths College, University of London, with a dissertation on the positive spatial aspects of Balkanization.

Weiss' design experience includes collaborating with Richard Gluckman, Herzog & de Meuron, as well as artists Jenny Holzer, Robert Wilson, and Marjetica Potrc. He has constructed gallery interiors for non-profit art organizations in New York City including Thread Waxing Space, Participant Inc., and the Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art. He has also realized architectural designs for two contemporary dance performances held at the 42nd Street Theatre and St. Mark's Church in New York. Among Weiss’ current projects is the conversion of one of the last remaining recreation stadiums from the Socialist era in Novi Sad, Serbia, into a Center for Recreation and New Media.

Lecture to be followed by a public reception in the art gallery.

Broken Pots Broken Dreams (2009)

Broken Pots Broken Dreams (2009)China's transition to a market economy has left many ceramists struggling to regain their footing in Jingdezhen, China's center of porcelain production for over 500 years. With state benefits and protections abruptly severed, workers must reinvent their livelihood in challenging times. Filmmaker and anthropologist Maris Gillette chronicles their experiences with captivating footage of Jingdezhen’s artisans, workshops, and neighborhoods.

Gillette is a cultural anthropologist and filmmaker living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Broken Pots Broken Dreams is based on field research that she has been conducting in Jingdezhen, China, since 2003. Maris’ filmmaking credits include her work on Neighbors and Nature in Harmony, part of the 2008-2009 Precious Places documentary series sponsored by Scribe Video Center, and screened at the Foundation Film Festival in Denver, Colorado. She is currently working on another Precious Places documentary about the Sydney King School of Dance at 711 S. Broad Street and the history of black dance in Philadelphia. Maris has published on porcelain production in Jingdezhen as well written extensively about Chinese Muslims living in the city of Xi’an. She is currently researching a new documentary on revolution in the Chinese countryside between the 1920s and 1950s.

“Postures in Clay”

“Postures in Clay”Philip Tinari will discuss the practices of Jingdezhen porcelain production in the context of Ai’s approach.

Tinari is founding editor of LEAP, a new bimonthly journal of contemporary Chinese art based in Beijing and published by the Modern Media Group. Since 2007, he has run the publishing imprint, editorial office, and translation studio Office for Discourse Engineering. Tinari is a contributing editor to Artforum and adjunct professor of art criticism at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. He serves as China advisor to the international art fairs Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach and worked previously as academic consultant to the Chinese contemporary art department at Sotheby's. He has written and lectured widely on contemporary art in China, for publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, and Parkett. Recent projects include the book Hans Ulrich Obrist: The China Interviews (2009) and the exhibition The Hong Kong Seven, mounted by the Fondation Louis Vuitton at the Hong Kong Museum of Art last year. A native of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. and a resident of Beijing for much of the past decade, he holds an A.M. in East Asian studies from Harvard (2005), a B.A. from Duke (2001), and was Fulbright fellow at Peking University (2001-02).

This exhibition has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative.

Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn

Exhibition Information

Exhibition Programming

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