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Ai Wei Wei's @Large Exhibit Coming to Alcatraz

Lately, Cheryl Haines, apostle of public art and owner of the Haines Gallery in Union Square, has been hard to track down. Her recent missions to Beijing, in which she ferries maps of Alcatraz to acclaimed dissident artist Ai Weiwei, have seized much of her schedule. Ai, who has been barred from leaving China by the nation’s government since an arrest in 2011 (note to file: beware of explicitly critiquing the country’s repression and graft), is currently at work on “@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz,” a public art collaboration between Haines’ nature-focused art organization, FOR-SITE, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Penetrative and profound, the multimedia installation of sound and sculpture will occupy four typically verboten zones on Alcatraz and explore incarceration, a topic Ai is quite familiar with. “Our visits have been fascinating,” says Haines, who has made six trips to Beijing since the project’s inception. “To bring a site-specific exhibition together in nine months when the artist is prohibited from visiting the site is the best kind of challenge—complex and rewarding all at the same time.” — David Kurlander 

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz runs Sept. 27–Apr. 26, 2015, Alcatraz

Browse through Ai's provocative portfolio in the slideshow above. 

This article was published in 7x7's September 2014 issue. Click here to subscribe.