Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz

The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned. This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.

Ai Weiwei

We went to the Ai Weiwei exhibition at Alcatraz this last week and it was fantastic.  No one who lives in San Francisco ever actually goes to Alcatraz, so it was a great excuse to take Gbemi over for a visit and see the exhibit at the same time.  I had heard from several people that the exhibit was sold out.  Turns out that @Large has done a pretty poor marketing job because very few people realize that they only need to buy a regular Alcatraz tour ticket to see the exhibition.  We booked our tickets online for $40 each for the ferry ride & tour just three days before.  It couldn’t have been easier.

The exhibit goes through April 26, 2015.  You can buy tickets here (  We had a choice of three different times for the day we wanted and ended up with the 9:10am departure.  The boat ride over is only 10 minutes.  We were super fortunate to have amazing weather that day even though we brought jackets.  The entire tour ended up taking us about 2 1/2 hours, but we kind of rushed through the audio tour and went straight for Ai Weiwei.

More Info

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally renowned for work that defies the distinction between art and activism. In this exhibition of new works created specifically for Alcatraz, Ai responds to the island’s layered legacy as a 19th-century military fortress, a notorious federal penitentiary, a site of Native American heritage and protest, and now one of America’s most visited national parks. Revealing new perspectives on Alcatraz, the exhibition raises questions about freedom of expression and human rights that resonate far beyond this particular place.

Some Pics

with wind