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Ai Weiwei exhibition coming to Alcatraz's off-limits areas

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Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei has a bold and varied body of work, ranging from a giant sculpture of floating bikes to a heavy metal album, and his next exhibition is headed to Alcatraz. Titled "@Large," the exhibition will feature sculptures, sound installations, and mixed-media works throughout four areas of the former prison: the New Industries Building, the A Block, the hospital, and the dining hall. The former three of those are not regularly accessible by visitors, but they'll be opened up for the duration of the exhibit. Though the exhibition itself was announced last year,  details about its contents are just now coming out.

"A very powerful and eloquent advocate for basic human rights""Ai Weiwei holds a really unique position in the world today," Cheryl Haines, curator of "@Large," says in a video introducing the project, "because he's not only a very recognized and celebrated contemporary artist, but he's a very powerful and eloquent advocate for basic human rights, freedom of expression, and individual responsibility." Details are limited on what exactly Weiwei will be presenting at Alcatraz, but Haines' nonprofit, which assisted in creating the exhibit, says that it will prompt visitors to "consider the implications of incarceration and the possibilities of art as an act of conscience."

The famous prison is a fitting place for Weiwei to tackle. He's been critical of the Chinese government and was held by authorities for 81 days in 2011 on charges of tax evasion, which his supporters contend were merely a means of silencing him. With his passport revoked, he still hasn't been able to leave China, and Haines and others from the nonprofit For-Site Foundation have worked to help him remotely create "@Large." For-Site is also currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for guides who can discuss the exhibit with visitors.

While there'll be no charge to get into the exhibit itself, visitors will still have to pay the regularly $30 ticket price for a ride over on a ferry to the island. The exhibit runs from September 27th through April 26th of next year, so there'll be plenty of time to see it. Ferry tickets for each date will go on sale three months in advance — making the first date available on June 27th — and a limited number of tickets will be set aside, at a higher price, for exhibition visitors who want to arrive early to get a better look at Weiwei's latest works.