Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest news, reviews, and commentary delivered directly to your inbox.

Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.

Posted inArt

The Visual Memory of Ai Weiwei’s Survey at the Hirshhorn Museum

Ai Weiwei’s survey at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC ended this past Sunday, and on that last day clusters of visitors gathered around each piece with camera phones out in documentation, especially at the end piece “Cube Light.” The highly photogenic glimmering box of glass crystals from his Chandelier series of large-scale installations is a conceptual monolith, and seems to unintentionally echo the flash of light from his own camera phone in his famous 2009 arrest photo displayed in a gallery below. It was that story of his own championing of documentation, especially through social media, that made the wandering camera phone mob seem like a component of the exhibition, a way for his art to fly out from the walls of the museum through digital waves while he himself is still unable to leave China.