Chinese artist Ai WeiWei’s exhibit “According to What?" opened this weekend at the Hirshhorn. The opening party and after party took place Saturday night, for which I volunteered to greet and sign in attendees and experience the culture of the museum. Guests could also attend a symposium on Sunday to discuss questions of freedom and creativity, a central focus of the artist. Donors and artists from around the world arrived in cocktail attire to enjoy beverages, dinner in the outdoor sculpture garden, and of course get a preview of the politically charged and highly anticipated exhibit. Despite the artist’s strong association with the Smithsonian - it currently holds three of his major works and the Hirshhorn is hosting his exhibit's North American premier - it seemed the only art contributor not in attendance was the artist himself. Unfortunately he is banned from leaving China. The artist’s power resonates, nonetheless, through his many popular exhibits on American soil.
“According to What?” is now open to the public October 7 – February 24, 2013.