Ai Weiwei, is a leading Chinese artist, curator, architectural designer, cultural and social commentator and activist.
In 1978, he was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the "Stars". The group subsequently disbanded in 1983. From 1981 to 1993, he lived in the United States, mostly in New York, doing performance art and creating conceptual art by altering readymade objects.
Back in Beijing, he helped establish the experimental artists' East Village and published a series of three books about this new generation of artists: Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995), and Gray Cover Book (1997).
In 2000, he co-curated the notorious art exhibition "Fuck Off" with curator Feng Boyi in Shanghai, China. He moved to Caochangdi where he built a compound of houses and opened his studio REAL/FAKE.
In 2006, Ai Weiwei and HHF Architects designed a private residence in Columbia County, New York for collectors Christopher Tsai and André Stockamp; according to the New York Times, the house, which was completed in 2008, is "extraordinarily refined" and is designed to incorporate a large contemporary Chinese art collection. He was the artistic consultant for design, collaborating with the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the "Bird's Nest."
His artwork has been exhibited extensively in Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and the United States. His work was included in the 48th Venice Biennale 1999, Italy; the First Guangzhou Triennial 2002, China; "Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney"; and Documenta 12, where his monumental outdoor sculpture titled "Template" collapsed after a storm. In December 2009, Ai Weiwei opened an exhibition of his work at the Comme des garcons store in Hong Kong.