2012 Infinity Award: Cornell Capa Award
Born in 1957 in Beijing, Ai Weiwei is known for his audacious conceptual sculpture and photographs, and for his photographic images of New York in the 1980s. He gained international prominence after the Chinese government shut down his politically dissident blog and then seized him on spurious tax-evasion charges in April 2011. His 81-day detention in prison provoked an outpouring of protests from artists, museum directors, and human rights advocates, leading to his release in June 2011. In 2003, he founded the architecture studio FAKE Design and was commissioned to design the 2008 Beijing Olympic Stadium with Herzog & de Meuron. From 1981-1993, he lived in the United States, mainly in New York, and studied at Parsons School of Design. His many awards includeThe Wall Street Journal Innovators Award (2011), The 2011 TIME Magazine 100, Foreign Policy Top Global Thinkers of 2011, The Art Review Power 100 (2011, 2010, 2009), The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation Award for Courage (2011), an honorary doctorate degree, Faculty of Politics and Social Science, University of Gent, Belgium (2010), and the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (2008). His work has been exhibited worldwide.