When does a mirror selfie become high art?
For artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, it happened in 2008 when he photographed himself inside an elevator. Chinese authorities arrested him to prevent him from testifying in the trial of a fellow activist.
His now-iconic selfie, “Illumination,” is part of his exhibition at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis. The work ranges from delicate ceramics fashioned with ancient Chinese techniques to a carefully stacked pile of rubble.
The wide-ranging show reflects Weiwei’s deep interest in honoring the past, while reshaping it into something new.