Ai Weiwei Wins Appraisers Association of America Award for Excellence in the Arts

The Appraisers Association of America has just announced Ai Weiwei as this year’s recipient of the Association’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. The award will be presented at a gala in New York this April, despite the fact that restrictions on Ai’s travel will prevent him from attending the ceremony.

In a press release announcing Ai as the award’s recipient, Nancy Harrison, President of the Board of Directors of the Association stated that Ai “has been and continues to be extraordinarily innovative in his art, and his courage as a human rights champion is an international inspiration.”

As Ai is not able to leave China, the Association has produced a video to be screened during the luncheon, in which he speaks with Association member John Tancock about his early years in exile, his time in New York, and the effects of the political restrictions on his art. The gala will also include a keynote address by Ann Temkin, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA and Dr. Jerome A. Cohen, a lawyer specializing in Asia-related issues will speak about Ai’s defense of free speech in China.

According to the press statement, this is the eighth consecutive year that the organization — a national non-profit with over 400 members throughout the country — will grant the award to an artist noted for a “bold and expansive vision and out of the box thinking [that] has changed the art world in a positive way.”

— Sara Roffino

(Photo via Ai Weiwei/Instagram.)