WSJ. Magazine Names Ai Weiwei as Art "Innovator of the Year"

  • October 26, 2011 20:14

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Ai Weiwei at his exhibition "Sunflower Seeds," a work consisting of 100 million hand-painted porcelain seeds, installed from Oct. 2010 to May 2011 at the Tate Modern in London.
Photograph: Lennart Preiss/AP

Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei has seen his star rise higher this month. He led ArtReview’s annual ranking of the 100 most influential people in the art world, the Power 100, and has now been named "Innovator of the Year" in art by WSJ. Magazine.

WSJ. Magazine's inaugural Innovator of the Year Awards will include a dinner on Oct. 27 "honoring the most creative, disruptive, and influential individuals in the world today," according to a press release. The celebration, to be held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, coincides with the November issue of WSJ. which hits newsstands on Saturday, Oct. 29, as part of WSJ Weekend.

“Our goal was to determine who is shaping our world in the most creative, groundbreaking ways,” said Editor-in-Chief Deborah Needleman in announcing the awards, “whether it’s something we behold or live in, marvel at, participate in or consume.”

Ai Weiwei, the acclaimed artist and creator of the Bejiing Olympics’ “bird’s nest” stadium, became the worldwide symbol of free expression when he was jailed for about 80 days this year by the Chinese government. Artist Marina Abramovic will accept the award on his behalf.

Debuting this weekend, Taiwan's Taipei Fine Arts Museum will feature 21 works by the dissident artist including some 1,000 bicycles reflecting China’s social changes.

The Innovator of the Year Awards were chosen by editors of The Wall Street Journal, with input from a select group of experts in each field. The 2011 recipients also include: Katie Grand (Fashion); Elon Musk (Technology); Bjarke Ingels (Architecture); Steve Ells (Food); Joris Laarman (Design); and The Giving Pledge, founded by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates (Philanthropy).



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