The newly expanded Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis will reopen to the public Sept. 28 with “Ai Weiwei: Bare Life,” a major survey featuring dozens of artworks by the world-renowned artist.
In conjunction with the exhibition, on Sept. 26, Sabine Eckmann, the William T. Kemper director and chief curator of the Kemper Art Museum, will host an Assembly Series Q&A with Ai in the university’s Edison Theatre. The talk — which also will serve as the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts’ fall Bunny and Charles Burson Visiting Artist Lecture — will explore the artist’s ongoing engagement with human rights issues and with Chinese culture past and present.
The Q&A is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Advance tickets for museum members and Washington University students will be available beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 via the Edison Theatre website or the on-campus box office. Tickets are first-come, first-served, and space is not guaranteed. Museum members will receive a promo code via email to access advance ticket reservations.
Tickets for the general public will be available Aug. 31 via the Edison Theatre website or the on-campus box office. Should Edison Theatre reach capacity, overflow seating will be available in Steinberg Hall Auditorium for a livestream broadcast.
In addition to the Q&A, the Kemper Art Museum will host a special preview for museum members and the university community on Friday, Sept. 27. The preview is also free but RSVPs are requested. Register here.
Events will continue Oct. 4 with a screening of Ai’s film “Human Flow,” followed by a screening of “The Rest” (Nov. 16). Art historian John J. Curley will discuss Ai’s work Oct. 23. Eckmann will host gallery conversations with Igor Marjanović, the Sam Fox School’s JoAnne Stolaroff Cotsen Professor and chair of undergraduate architecture (Oct. 31); and with Kristina Kleutghen, the David W. Mesker Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology in Arts & Sciences (Nov. 14).
Other events will include the symposium “Art and the Contemporary Refugee: Narratives, Memorials, Communities” (Nov. 15-16); the panel discussion “When We Talk to Each Other,” in collaboration with the International Institute of St. Louis (Dec. 7); and the panel discussion “Ghost Sanctuary,” featuring visiting assistant professor Jonathan Stitelman and graduate architecture students (Dec. 12).
In addition, the museum will offer free exhibition tours each Saturday, as well as Chinese-language tours at 2 p.m. Oct. 6, Nov. 15 and Dec. 8. Visitors also are invited to record themselves reading excerpts from “Humanity,” Ai’s book of reflections on the global refugee crisis, as part of the #Humanity Video Project. The museum will share select videos on social media and incorporate them into a compilation playing on site.
For more information about “Ai Weiwei: Bare Life” and related events, call 314-935-5490 or visit kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu. For more information about museum membership, call 314-935-8243.
Image credit: Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957), “Illumination,” 2009. Lambda print mounted on aluminum, 49 5/8 x 66 1/8″ (126 x 168 cm). Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio.