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Royal Academy

Ai Weiwei

AI WEIWEI, Straight, 2008–12, Steel reinforcing bars, 600 x 1200 cm. 

Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London.

Consummate, controversial, fearless: such words were ubiquitous in the descriptions surrounding the Ai Weiwei showcase that overtook London this fall. In September, the city's Royal Academy of Arts premiered "Ai Weiwei," the first major institutional survey of the artist to be held in the United Kingdom, which covered his works dating from 1993 to the present. Yet due to Ai's reputation as a political activist and fervent social…

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