Ai Weiwei is helping to launch The Space – a website dedicated to digital art.
The $13.5 million project will commission and showcase new art for audiences around the world.
Ai Weiwei has given the names of victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China to a 24-hour launch event taking place at London’s Tate Modern this weekend.
He hopes the names will be used to create “a meaningful piece of digital art”.
The launch event for The Space at Tate Modern featured a video message from Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing
Ai compiled the list of names of 5,196 student victims via his blog after accusations that shoddy construction work had caused the collapse of thousands of classrooms during the quake.
The dissident artist has made a number of artworks about Sichuan, including Nian (“Remembrance”), a sound installation of the students’ names being recited by 3,444 individuals rallied from a Twitter campaign.
The launch event for The Space at Tate Modern featured a video message from Ai Weiwei from his studio in Beijing.
“It gives another opportunity and a platform for artists or somebody like me to work with. I believe many, many young people and students will love it,” he said.
The Space will feature some 50 new art commissions a year.
Speaking on Friday, launch director Ruth Mackenzie said that not every commission was expected to be a success.
But she hoped that potential “Picassos or Eisensteins” would submit ideas to The Space for a paid commission.
“[Visitors] might come and have a have good laugh because it didn’t work out, or you might come and see history and see the invention of an entirely new art form,” she said.
The launch weekend features a “hackathon” in the Tate’s Turbine Hall with around 150 artists creating digital artworks from scratch over a 24-hour period.
Ai Weiwei and Olafur Eliasson’s interactive digital art work Moon has been loaned to Tate Modern for the event. It is the first time it has been displayed in a UK Gallery.
Alex Graham, who chairs The Space – which originally launched as a pilot in 2012 – described the project as “a gallery without walls”.
The 2012 pilot had more than 1.5 million visits, an average of 40,000 per week.
Tate Modern in London is presenting one of the largest collections of Henri Matisse’s “cut-out” artworks ever assembled.
Henri Matisse cut out paper shapes for collages when ill-health prevented him from painting, producing famous pieces such as The Snail and Blue Nude.
Tate Modern in London is presenting one of the largest collections of Henri Matisse’s “cut-out” artworks ever assembled
Many of the items will be seen together for the first time in the exhibition, which opens on Thursday and features about 130 artworks from the latter stage of Henri Matisse’s career.
Henri Matisse worked from a wheelchair after treatment for cancer and the exhibition compiles work dating from 1937 to 1954, when he died aged 84 of a heart attack.
The exhibition will be at Tate Modern until September 7 before it travels to New York’s Museum of Modern Art in mid-October. It can also be seen by cinema-goers from June 3 with the launch of Matisse Live.
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Louvre has topped the list of the most visited art museums of 2012, according to the Art Newspaper.
The publication’s annual survey found 9.7 million people visited the Louvre in Paris – one million more than 2011.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art was the second most-visited venue, with three London museums taking the third, fourth and fifth spots.
The most popular exhibition of 2012 was a show of Dutch Old Masters at Tokyo’s Metropolitan Art Museum.
Louvre has topped the list of the most visited art museums of 2012
Masterpieces from the Mauritshuis, which included Vermeer’s 1665 painting Girl with a Pearl Earring, brought 10,500 visitors a day to the Tokyo gallery between June and September 2012.
The paintings had been on loan from The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in the Hague, which is closed for refurbishment until mid-2014.
The collection will tour the US and Italy before returning to the Netherlands next year.
Visitor numbers at the Louvre, which has topped the annual list of most popular venues since it began in 2007, were boosted by the museum’s new wing of Islamic art.
While the position of the top 10 venues showed little change on the previous year, British museums had an “excellent” 2012 according to the survey, boosted by increased visitors to London for the summer Olympics.
Tate Modern, which attracted a large number visitors thanks to a Damien Hirst retrospective and the Tanks installation, moved up a place to fourth on the list with 5.3 million visitors – up from 4.8 million in 2011.
It pushed the National Gallery down to fifth place.
Alex Beard, deputy director at the Tate said its versatile offering helped bring more people to gallery.
“It has been an extraordinary year at Tate Modern, opening the world’s first museum galleries permanently dedicated to exhibiting live art, performance, installation and film works alongside an outstanding exhibition programme which has undoubtedly fuelled the increase in visitors,” he said.
Surprisingly, none of the 20 most popular exhibitions were held at any of the top five most visited galleries.
Tokyo featured a second time on the list with an exhibition of European art at the National Museum.
While Rio’s Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil appeared three times with The Amazon: Cycles of Modernity in second place with 7,928 daily visitors, Antony Gormley’s Still Being, at seven with 6,909 daily visitors and India at 11 with 6,347 daily visitors.
An exhibition of 19th Century Italian paintings at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg was the third most-visited show with 7,747 visitors a day.
And in London, David Hockney’s A Bigger Picture – which featured large-scale works on canvas and an iPad – attracted 7,512 daily visitors to the Royal Academy of Arts to become the fifth most-visited.
Due to its popularity, the gallery extended its opening hours for the show’s final week, opening until midnight on weekdays.
Meanwhile, in the Art Newspaper’s list of top 10 London venues, Leonardo at the National Gallery was the highest ranking show to feature pre-20th Century works, with 3,985 visitors a day.
London gallery Tate Modern bought Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s “sunflower seeds”, a work made up of 10 tons of porcelain seed replicas.
Tate Modern has acquired around eight million of the 100 million porcelain reproductions.
They make up just under 10% of the original work, commissioned for the Tate’s 2010’s Unilever Series.
It saw 100 million seeds spread over the floor of the gallery’s vast Turbine Hall.
Shortly afterwards it was cordoned off over health and safety fears because of ceramic dust. The gallery initially had plans for visitors to be able to walk on the seeds.
London gallery Tate Modern bought Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's "sunflower seeds", a work made up of 10 tons of porcelain seed replicas
The work was on display at Tate Modern from June 2011 to February 2012.
Each porcelain seed had been individually handcrafted by skilled artisans in the city of Jingdezhen, which is famed for its production of Chinese Imperial porcelain.
The work has been purchased for an undisclosed figure with assistance from the Tate International Council, the Art Fund, and private donations.
It’s thought the remaining seeds will go back to the artist.
As well as being a popular Chinese street snack, sunflower seeds have a political meaning for the Chinese artist.
During the Cultural Revolution, propaganda images showed Chairman Mao as the sun and the mass of people as sunflowers turning towards him.
Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei was recently named as the most powerful person in the art world.
The announcement came after he spent more than two months in detention.
Ai Weiwei’s arrest in April 2011, as he boarded a Beijing flight bound for Hong Kong, prompted a global campaign for his release.