Ai Weiwei in Contemporary American Literature

Google image search (Tate Modern)
Google image search (Tate Modern)

Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds installation has made it into a recent work of fiction How to be a Grown-up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. It was also my first experience of his work in the flesh. In the novel, a cameo character’s daughter chews on a sunflower seed and her mother immediately calls her art dealer to ask if Mr. Weiwei can provide a replacement piece since the sunflowers were purchased with an adherence toward feng shui and one less was gonna fuck that up. The moment I read this, I thought these two women writers are comic geniuses. While it was being shown at Tate Modern, edible sunflowers were given away as exhibition souvenirs.

 

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