Ai Weiwei "Single-Panel Portrait of Ai Weiwei" 2014. Plastic LEGO, 15 x 15 in. (38.1 x 38.1 cm). Image courtesy of the FOR-SITE Foundation, San Francisco
Donate #legosforweiwei and support free speech.
NOVEMBER 20–JANUARY 3, 2015
Dropoff location: Southwest corner of Dundas St. W. and McCaul St., near Henry Moore’s Large Two Forms sculpture
On October 23, celebrated Chinese artist Ai Weiwei posted on Instagram: “In September Lego refused Ai Weiwei Studio’s request for a bulk order of Legos to create artwork to be shown at the National Gallery of Victoria as ‘they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.'”
In September Lego refused Ai Weiwei Studio’s request for a bulk order of Legos to create artwork to be shown at the National Gallery of Victoria as “they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.” On Oct 21, a British firm formally announced that it will open a new Legoland in Shanghai as one of the many deals of the U.K.-China “Golden Era.”
Ai’s post triggered a flood of responses on social media criticizing Lego for “censorship and discrimination,” and thousands of anonymous supporters offered to donate their used Legos to the artist. In response to the overwhelming inquiries, Ai is using his global influence to invite each of us to consider the implications of corporate influence on an artists’ work. At his request, museums around the world are taking a stand in support of free expression, collecting donated Lego bricks to help Ai create a new work—and the Art Gallery of Ontario is the first #legosforweiwei collection point in Canada. In the fall of 2013 the AGO hosted Ai Weiwei: According to What?, an exhibition that asked our visitors to consider what it means to speak freely without penalty. The AGO is proud to support Ai again and will always vigorously defend artists’ rights to express themselves.