For additional exhibitions, please see our Calendar.

The Birth of Tragedy

Cognac, France

September 25, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic gradually stabilizes and the world restores its energy, Cai Guo-Qiang’s daytime explosion event, The Birth of Tragedy, was brought to a worldwide audience from Charente in Cognac, France via livestream on September 25th, 2020 at 3 PM CET / 9AM EDT. Twenty thousand shots of fireworks were launched from 150 oak barrels floating on the river, to honor the universal values of resilience, courage, and hope, and to demonstrate mankind’s heroic faith in life and power after a strenuous feat.

The Birth of Tragedy was commissioned as part of “A World Odyssey,” which marks Hennessy X.O’s 150th anniversary. Cai’s daytime fireworks use exclusively non-toxic, eco-conscious, CE-certified pyrotechnic products.

Photo by Simon Cassanas, courtesy Hennessy

Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

May 24, 2019–January 12, 2020

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents its first ever artist-curated exhibition, Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection. Curated by six contemporary artists, all of whom have shaped the Guggenheim’s history with their own pivotal solo shows—Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems—this full rotunda presentation brings together collection highlights and rarely seen works from the turn of the 20th century through 1980. For this exhibition, Cai was thrilled to discover among the Guggenheim’s collection a wide array of little-known works by prominent 20th century abstract painters. He calls his presentation Non-Brand (非品牌), in reference to his idea that these figurative works lack the “brand,” or the sought-after, recognizable style associated with a famous artist. Cai also embarked on a new series of gunpowder paintings on glass which cite iconic canvases that form the Guggenheim collection’s “brand, ” works by Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, and Yves Klein.

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Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

Netflix Launch Date: October 14, 2016

In his latest feature documentary, Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King Of Scotland) has unfettered access to world-renowned contemporary artist, Cai Guo-Qiang. Told through the artist’s own words and those of family, friends, colleagues, and critics, Sky Ladder traces Cai’s meteoric rise from childhood in Mao’s China to pre-eminent global artist. We witness as Cai struggles with how to affect social change through art, and navigate the compromises and complexities that arise when you’ve made it to the top. When you’ve gone as far as he has, how do you challenge yourself? 

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