Ai Weiwei’s “Study of Perspective.”

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I saw a couple of these photos from Ai Weiwei’s “Study of Perspective” series during my visit to MoMA in March and absolutely loved them. My immediate response was to chuckle, to see the humor in Ai’s middle finger positioned in front of some of the world’s most notable man-made landmarks, from Tiananmen Square to the White House to the painting of Mona Lisa. But upon second glance, there is a powerful protestation behind the gesture, a rejection of the power held by culture and politics and a rebellion against authority. I definitely did a couple double-takes. And even now when I look at these photos, I’m drawn in by the comedy of the composition but find myself lingering on its implications, and how subtly Ai is able to combine humor with making a political statement. Pretty amazing. How does this photo series make you feel? Amused? Rebellious? Underwhelmed?

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All images courtesy of MoMa.org

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