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Entries in Olympics (3)


Olympic Artist Finds Sanctuary in Smithsonian Museum 

Ai Weiwei Colored Vases, 2006. (in process) Courtesy of the artist.

The Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum will be the site of the first North American exhibition for controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (pictured left). The exhibition, titled According to What?, runs in Washington D.C. until February 24, 2013 and concludes in the Brooklyn Museum in 2014. Although Weiwei's collection of work has made it to Washington, the artist himself has not been as fortunate, as he is currently barred from leaving his native China. He was imprisoned for three months last year without charge and the government has recently attempted to close his design business.

Yet Weiwei remains undeterred, as it is through his art that he strives to promote a belief in freedom of expression in the face of constant oppression.  

Despite his current 'enemy of the state' status, Weiwei was not always at odds with the Chinese government. For more than a decade, the prolific artist was championed by his native nation, considered a shining example of the contemporary Chinese art that was flourishing in the communist state. Perhaps his most monumental achievement on behalf of his country was his masterful work on Beijing's National stadium as artistic consultant during the 2008 summer Olympics.  

The real breaking point between the two sides came a few months later over the government's refusal to accept any blame for the deaths of thousands of children due to poorly constructed schools that collapsed during the Sichaun earthquake. Weiwei could not condone the conduct of his government, and as a result began a personal crusade to document the tragedies that occured, pay homage to the children through his work, and expose the wrongdoings of the state. This lead to a severe government crackdown upon him which Weiwei continues to be subjected to daily.

Weiwei hopes that his exhibit will continue to spread his message of freedom to the world, as well as to shed light on the struggles he and others, subject to oppressive regimes, have faced in order to defend their human rights. Says Hirshorn director Richard Koshalek, "The context in which this exhibition is being presented is extremely, extremely important to him and to us. I think what he's saying refers to not just China, but it refers to other places in the world where freedom of expression is threated or doesn't exist."

Below I have attached images from some of the fantastic pieces that make up Weiwei's exhibition. To learn more, click on the link to Weiwei's exhibition on the Hirshhorn website here, or read The Wall Street Journal article.   
Ai Weiwei Map of China, 2004. Courtesy of the Tiroche DeLeon Collection & Art Vantage PCC Limited.Ai Weiwei Forever, 2003. Courtesy of the Tiroche DeLeon Collection & Art Vantage PCC Limited.Ai Weiwei Untitled (Divine Proportion), 2006. Courtesy of the Tiroche DeLeon Collection & Art Vantage PCC Limited.Ai Weiwei Cube Light, 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.Ai Weiwei Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995. Courtesy of the Tiroche DeLeon Collection & Art Vantage PCC Limited.

We're the New York Institute of Photographya distance education school teaching photography since 1910 - over 100 years of knowledge and experience. Listen to the following podcast to learn more about who we are and what we do.





Neil Leifer's Iconic 1984 Olympic Images Revisited by Lightbox 

Carl Lewis jumps in front of Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, New York City. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated) With the London Olympics having drawn to a close, we thought it was a perfect time to look back at Neil Leifer's famous spread in Time Magazine's 1984 Olympic games preview edition, in which the photographer traveled to 13 countries over the course of a year in order to photograph some of the world's most famous athletes in front of the iconic symbols of their respective nations. The portfolio was recently revived by Lightbox in anticipation of the London 2012 Olympics and the images were also put on display in a recent exhibition at the Newseum, titled Photo Finish: The Sports Photography of Neil Leifer. Perhaps what makes these images so spectacular today is the fact that Leifer did not artificially alter conditions at any point during the year-long shoot. “It took weeks to set up each shoot,” says Leifer. “And there’s not a single one of these pictures where I use any artificial lighting.” In an age where doctoring images has become the norm, the fact that one man (and assistant Anthony Suarez) persevered to get the perfect shot at each location is truly awe-inspiring. The portfolio captured the imagination of the world upon its publication, expressing the true essence of Olympic competition through its grand symbolism and harmony with nature. Read more here:              

Koji Gushiken on rings in front of Mount Fuji, Japan. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Sophia Sakorafa poses with javelin in front of The Parthenon at The Acropolis in Athens. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

The Indian field hockey team poses in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Weightlifter Viktor Mosibit poses in front of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow's Red Square. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Kenya marathon runners Kipkoech Cheruiyot and Charles Cheruiyot run next to giraffes in Nanyuki, Kenya. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Mary Decker poses in front of Mount Rushmore in Keystone, S.D. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Mohamed Naguib Hamed poses with discus in front of the Pyramid of Khufu and the Great Sphinx in Giza, Egypt. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Photographer Neil Leifer (right) poses with Fidel Castro and Cuban heavyweight boxer Teofilo Stevenson while on assignment in Havana. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

South Korean Jin-Ho Kim poses with bow and arrow in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Gymnast Zhou Qiurui on the Great Wall of China. Shanhaiguan, China. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Heavyweight boxer Francesco Damiani in front of the Colosseum in Rome. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Fidel Castro poses with the Cuban women's basketball team in Havana. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

Kristin Otto poses in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in East Berlin. (Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated)

We're the New York Institute of Photographya distance education school teaching photography since 1910 - over 100 years of knowledge and experience. Listen to the following podcast to learn more about who we are and what we do.





Our 10 Favorite Olympic Photography Articles

A number of us at NYIP are quite excited to watch the upcoming Olympic games in London.  We even put together an article of photo tips to capture quality sports photos on our website here

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen some other fascinating pieces on photographers and their experiences photographing the games. 

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Best Magazine Assignment Ever: Neil Leifer’s 1984 Olympic Odyssey Around the World -
  • As the London Summer Olympics draw near, the traditional colored sheep have been rolled out at Henham Park Estate

Enjoy the games!