Alcatraz has seen it all, people-wise: federal prisoners, Native American protesters, and, in its current state as one of America’s most visited national parks, hordes of tourists. This fall, the notorious island will play host to a new set -- art lovers.
Park officials are expecting half a million visitors to show up to see their newly-funded fall exhibit, @Large, a mix of "sculpture, sound and mixed-media" by the world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The setting is no random pick: @Large is intended to explore the concept of human freedom through the "layered legacy" of Alcatraz.
Of course the great irony is that Ai himself likely won't be in attendance, as he's effectively a prisoner within China. Since 2011, the Chinese government has kept the artist's passport in its custody on the basis of vague charges, with no sign of relenting. It's enough to drive a person nuts, but if the @Large Kickstarter video is anything to go by, Ai is a master of restrained censure: