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Upcoming Exhibitions

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Ai, Rebel: The Art and Activism of Ai Weiwei

Mar 12 – Sep 7 2025

Seattle Art Museum

Special Exhibition

Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957) is one of the world’s most well-known and celebrated artists. His work thrives on making familiar life unfamiliar again, consistently calling upon viewers to explore social, cultural, and political issues. The Seattle Art Museum will present the artist’s first US retrospective in over a decade and his largest-ever exhibition in the US. It also marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in Seattle.

Ai, Rebel will explore over 100 works created across four decades, from the 1980s to the 2020s, offering visitors from all over the world a rare opportunity to engage with the conceptual artist’s wide-ranging body of work. Organized by the Seattle Art Museum and curated by FOONG Ping, SAM’s Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, this career-spanning exhibition highlights Ai as a provocateur and identifies his key strategies for disrupting artistic canons and challenging political authoritarianism.

Iconic works from Ai’s career will be on view, including Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn (1995), Study of Perspective (1995-2011), several examples from his Han Dynasty Urn with Coca Cola Logo series, Sunflower Seeds (2010), and Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads (Gold) (2010). The exhibition will also debut works never shown in the US, including Marble Sofa (2011), a carving of an ordinary leather sofa.

Exhibitions of Ai Weiwei’s work have brought sold-out crowds around the world, so the museum anticipates high demand and is making preparations for the best visitor experience. To increase access, the exhibition will have an extended run of six months. Timed ticketing will increase access to the museum and improve flow in the galleries. Ticket release dates will be announced in advance so that visitors can plan ahead. SAM members will have additional opportunities for access, including early access to reserve timeslots, member-only days, and member-exclusive events.

Ai, Rebel: The Art and Activism of Ai Weiwei is organized by the Seattle Art Museum.

Presenting Sponsor

Additional Support
Contributors to the SAM Fund

Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio. Photo: Gao Yuan

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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