That’s right. West London’s Design Museum announced its 2023 headliner only last week. The Chinese art icon exhibits his new show in April, which will serve as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values.

Entitled Making Sense, the exhibition will run from 7 April to 30 July 2023. This exhibition, made in collaboration with the artist, will be his first commentary on the design world and will see him using material culture to explore the “tension between past and present, hand and machine, precious and worthless, construction and destruction.”

The Design Museum adds that Ai Weiwei’s exhibition will draw on the artist’s fascination with historical Chinese artefacts. These objects will place their traditional craftsmanship in dialogue with the more recent history of demolition and urban development in China.

Weiwei’s work will sit among an array of exciting shows which include a landmark exhibition centred around India’s traditional garment, the sari, which will open in May. And from October until early 2024, the Design Museum will explore the evolution of the skateboard and its impact on the design world. The hugely popular ASMR exhibition currently in place has also been extended until April 2023.

Tim Marlow, director and chief executive at Design Museum, says: “With saris, skateboards and a spellbinding show by Ai Weiwei, 2023 is going to be one of the most ground-breaking years in recent memory at the Design Museum. As the world’s leading museum of contemporary design, we are uniquely placed to explore these compelling global stories that highlight the sometimes playful but invariably decisive role of design in many aspects of our lives. 

“We’re delighted that Ai Weiwei will present his first major design-focussed exhibition here at the Design Museum. He is clearly one of the most important artists in the world. Still, his practice also profoundly embraces design and architecture, and his work’s cultural and political impact will resonate in very different ways throughout this collaborative landmark exhibition.”

There will also be a conversation between Ai Weiwei and Design Museum Director Tim Marlow ahead of the show’s opening on 20 September 2022, with tickets available to book here.

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