ANDY WARHOL + AI WEIWEI

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. 

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Every morning, for 600 days, Weiwei put a bouquet of flowers in the basket of the bicycle that is outside his studio as a daily demonstration against the Chinese governments confiscation of his passport. He documented each day on his Flickr.  

Every morning, for 600 days, Weiwei put a bouquet of flowers in the basket of the bicycle that is outside his studio as a daily demonstration against the Chinese governments confiscation of his passport. He documented each day on his Flickr.  

Weiwei's Han Dynasty-era vases to resemble cheap modern containers, an example of his "long-standing interest in notions of cultural heritage, authenticity, and -- appropriately enough -- the value of art."

Weiwei's Han Dynasty-era vases to resemble cheap modern containers, an example of his "long-standing interest in notions of cultural heritage, authenticity, and -- appropriately enough -- the value of art."

Ai flipping off the worlds most important monuments. "He describes it as his personal form of rebellion against any government authority who blatently or covertly disregard the freedom of its citizens."

Ai flipping off the worlds most important monuments. "He describes it as his personal form of rebellion against any government authority who blatently or covertly disregard the freedom of its citizens."

Warhol's Chairman Mao portraits. His idea for this began when his dealer suggested that Warhol return to painting by making portraits of the most important figure of the 20th Century and celeb-loving Warhol remembered that he read Mao Zedong was the most famous person in the world at the time.

Warhol's Chairman Mao portraits. His idea for this began when his dealer suggested that Warhol return to painting by making portraits of the most important figure of the 20th Century and celeb-loving Warhol remembered that he read Mao Zedong was the most famous person in the world at the time.

Ai's wife, Lu Quing, lifting up her skirt at Tiananmen Square. 

Ai's wife, Lu Quing, lifting up her skirt at Tiananmen Square. 

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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.