Ai Weiwei - artist number one in ArtReview's Power 100

The ‘POWER 100list of the most powerful players in the world of contemporary art is compiled by ArtReview and it is Ai Weiwei who conquered the top of the list.
The Chinese artist, best known throughout the world for his collaboration on the Beijing National Stadium project (Bird's Nest), has been proclaimed the number one because of his activism as much as for his artistic practice.
Ai Weiwei, Beijing National Stadium, Bird's Nest
Bird's Nest, Beijing
Photo: wikipedia
On 3 April this year, Ai Weiwei was dramatically arrested at Beijing airport, after which he spent 81 days in jail as part of what was described as an investigation for economic crimes.
Ai Weiwei, Chinese contemporary artist, artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium, 2011 POWER 100, ArtReview
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei outside his studio in Beijing in June 2011.Photo: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images
Despite this fact, Ai’s exhibition schedule remained intense; this year's Lisson Gallery exhibition took place while the artist was still imprisoned.
Ai Weiwei, Colored Vases, Lisson Gallery, creativity, Chinese antique vases of the Han Dynasty
Ai Weiwei, Colored Vases (2009)
Photo: Soraya Gilanni for Art Observed
He’s been released under a number of restrictions on his movement and freedom of expression.Ai’s power and influence beyond the strict sphere of art derive from the fact that his work and his words have become catalysts for international debates that affect every nation on the planet. His activities admonish the world about the fact that freedom of expression is a basic right of any human being.

"His activism has been a reminder of how art can reach out to a bigger audience and connect with the real world", said Mark Rappolt, the editor of the magazine.
Ai Weiwei, Lisson Gallery
Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo and to seek new potential.”
Ai Weiwei
The list, the most international to date, has six positions held by Italians, Germano Celant (63), Massimo De Carlo & Mario Cristiani (78), Lorenzo Fiaschi & Maurizio Rigillo (79), Massimiliano Gioni (80), the fashion designer Miuccia Prada (85) and Turin gallery owners Franco Noero e Pierpaolo Falone (98), and one by the Serbian artist Marina Abramovic, who now ranks at 23 from last year's position at 35.
The 2011 Power 100 list can be seen full at the ArtReview site while the complete publication with full profiles, analysis, features and photography portfolios will follow with the November issue.
sources: Tafter, ArtReview


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