City of Knoxville Tennessee Arts Commission


Ai Weiwei

May 13 – August 7, 2011

Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn (Ceramic Works, 5000 BCE – 2010 CE) is the first solo exhibition of works by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to be presented outside of New York City in the United States.

Organized by Arcadia University Art Gallery, Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn features a selection of ceramic works and photographs ranging from 1993 to the present. In these works, Ai Weiwei transforms ancient ceramic objects, including 7000-year old Neolithic urns and Han dynasty vessels, by painting them with a “Coca-Cola” logo, dipping them into vats of industrial paint, smashing them on the ground, or grinding them into powder.

The largest piece in the exhibition appears to be a large pile of tiny sunflower seeds, a common street snack in China. Each seed, produced to scale, was painstakingly hand-crafted from porcelain. Weighing precisely one ton, the porcelain seeds were created by a team of workers in the town of Jingdezhen, China where porcelain has been produced for the past 1700 years.

Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn has been organized by Arcadia University Art Gallery and supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Curated by Richard Torchia & Gregg Moore.

Arcadia University Art Gallery                             Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
Presenting sponsors include Nancy and Stephen Land. Additional sponsors include the Tennessee Arts Commission. Ad sponsors are June and Rob Heller.


Media support for this exhibition is provided by: