I spent a morning at the Andy Warhol + Ai Weiwei exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria before my flight out of Melbourne.
Both men disrupted the art world while compulsively recording their lives, during different eras. Warhol with his tape recorder and Weiwei with Instagram and Twitter. Both have been criticized with desecrating art but actually have morphed the way the world understands art.
While Warhol died in '87, Weiwei is only 58 years old and continues to create very political work.
I read a New York Times article about this exhibition at another gallery and it detailed that when Weiwei first viewed his work displayed with Warhol's he seemed "genuinely taken aback by how Warhol had influenced his work, often unconsciously"...
“It’s as if we were brothers,” he said, noting the similarities of Warhol’s early bird’s-eye ink sketches of the Manhattan skyline to his own youthful renderings of Shanghai’s rooftops. “Who could imagine that a poor Chinese kid would one day be showing his work alongside Andy’s?”
The postcard I bought at the gift shop on the way out is an old photo of a young Weiwei posing in front of an Andy Warhol painting at NYC's MOMA in 1987... just after Weiwei moved to New York and was taking odd jobs since he failed the entrance museum to Parsons School of Art + Design.
And now, 30 years later, he's exhibiting with Andy Warhol. How cool is that.