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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Reason to Go to Alcatraz: Art Installations Raise Questions About Social Justice

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge BETH LABERGE
  • Beth LaBerge

Although "Do you want to go to Alcatraz this weekend?" is a sentence featured on a semi-recent list by The Bold Italic of "Things You'll Never Hear San Franciscans Say" -- that may change come September.

Beginning September 27 and running through April 26, 2015, Alcatraz will be home to seven art installations created by the Beijing-based contemporary artist and social activist Ai Weiwei.

Collectively known as @Large, the installations in the exhibit will use sound and sculpture to explore the components and limitations of freedom of expressions and the rights we have as human beings.

"Our show is about freedom," Weiwei says in @Large's Kickstarter video. "Human struggle for freedom of speech, for a better world, for a more civilized world, has always been restricted or punished, damaged, throughout history, and it's still happening in many, many nations, so that is a strong reason for why we have to offer the show."

Although the exhibit will be stationed at Alcatraz for over half a year, Weiwei will most likely not be able to ever see it. Weiwei is currently being detained by the Chinese government and is unable to leave Beijing for an indeterminate amount of time. Ironically, the exhibit is not only inspired by human rights and the freedom of expression, but by the lack of the artist's own. Even more ironically, it is being shown at an obsolete prison, a place in which the former inhabitants were deprived of both.

@Large will be brought to Alcatraz courtesy of the FOR-SITE Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing art exhibitions that provoke new ways of thinking about our culture, as well as the National Park Service and the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy.

If you want to help support the exhibit, check out @Large's Kickstarter campaign.

Tickets for @Large go on sale June 27.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF

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Jessica Nemire

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