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Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei opened not one, not two, but four new shows in New York City last week. In this episode, we delve into “Laundromat,” on view at Jeffrey Deitch—the latest work by Ai to engage with the European refugee crisis. For the show, the artist and his assistants gathered and then painstakingly cleaned hundreds of articles of clothing left behind by refugees forced to evacuate from the Idomeni camp on the border of Greece and Macedonia. We discuss how this work fits into Ai’s career thus far, as well as the broader history of political art. And we ask: Can artists move the needle on public reaction to humanitarian crises?
Where we’ll be drinking white wine in the art world this week:
This podcast is hosted by Artsy Associate Editor Isaac Kaplan, joined for this edition by Galleries Editor Casey Lesser and Content Manager for the Art Genome Project Madeleine Boucher. It was produced by Editorial Associate Abigail Cain.
Intro music: “Something Elated” by Broke For Free
Cover image: Photo by Genevieve Hanson, courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch Inc. New York.
Idee di Pietra in Gstaad, Switzerland