1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir


non-fiction, , audiobook, 2021-read, art, done, memoir-to-read, visual-art, audio, biography, dnf, read-around-the-world, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Art, Cultural, Biography, History, Biography Memoir, Politics

In Ai Weiwei's widely anticipated memoir, "one of the most important artists working in the world today" (Financial Times) tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, the nation's most celebrated poet.

"With uncommon humanity, humbling scholarship, and poignant intimacy, Ai Weiwei recounts a life of courage, argument, defeat, and triumph. His is one of the great voices of our time."--Andrew Solomon

Hailed as "an eloquent and seemingly unsilenceable voice of freedom" by The New York Times, Ai Weiwei has written a sweeping memoir that presents a remarkable history of China over the last hundred years while also illuminating his artistic process.

Once an intimate of Mao Zedong and the nation's most celebrated poet, Ai Weiwei's father, Ai Qing, was branded a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, and he and his family were banished to a desolate place known as "Little Siberia," where Ai Qing was sentenced to hard labor cleaning public toilets. Ai Weiwei recounts his childhood in exile, and his difficult decision to leave his family to study art in America, where he befriended Allen Ginsberg and was inspired by Andy Warhol. With candor and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist--and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime.

Ai Weiwei's sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011. Here, for the first time, Ai Weiwei explores the origins of his exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs through his life story and that of his father, whose creativity was stifled.

At once ambitious and intimate, Ai Weiwei's 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows offers a deep understanding of the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.

Title:1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir Reviews

  • Jenna ? ?  ?

    (Andy Warhol & Ai Weiwei Exhibition-35, photo by Russell Charters) "With art I opened up a space that was new to me, an abandoned space infested with weeds, in wild and desolate ruin.... it offered ...

  • Elyse  Walters

    Audiobook…read by David Shih ….13 hours and 7 minutes I appreciated learning about Ai Weiwei ….(born in 1957 in Beijing), the Chinese contemporary artist……. Architect, activist, sound produc...

  • Lisa

    [3.4] I am grateful to this book for bringing Ai Weiwei's art and activism to my attention. After reading it, I browsed through photos of his many installations, creations and "destructions". I also l...

  • Sahitya

    I love going to museums but I’m not very knowledgeable about art, and particularly ignorant about modern art. So, when I first saw this memoir, I was intrigued because I wanted to know more about th...

  • Susan

    Outspoken artist and international human-rights icon Ai Weiwei here chillingly documents--originally as a record for his young son, and subsequently for all the rest of us--the brutal life of privatio...

  • Ben Rogers

    First off, let me say how much I like Ai's work. Very provocative and thought provoking pieces. Now, for the book. This was a good read. An interesting memoir and had some touching moments. That being...

  • Rebecca Rubenstein

    My recent deep dive of Ai Wei Wei includes this riveting memoir, his Rapture show in Lisbon, and his many documentaries, some by him and some about him. I know I’m not alone when I say Ai Wei Wei is...

  • Kea4

    You might know him for creating the “Bird’s Nest” which is the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics.As for this book talking about life in the camps in China was very eye-openin...

  • Natalia

    It was an impressive journey to Ai Weiwei's family history that is tightly connected to the history of China. Some parts were heartbreaking, some were immensely insightful in providing the artist's vi...

  • Shelby Thompson

    This is the type of book I can see Timothée Chalamet (NYU Chalemet, not Dune Chalemet. People can change) reading on the subway while making little notes in the margins about the necessity of sacrifi...