@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, September 27, 2014 – April 26, 2015

FOR-SITE Foundation, San Francisco

What we did: Engagement | Planning | Production

In the role of special project director for the FOR-SITE Foundation, Marnie Burke de Guzman led the integrated exhibition planning, interpretation, and marketing communications for the unprecedented exhibition @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz. Burke de Guzman managed the project team as well as the integral partnerships with the National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. As director of all online and on-site interpretation and communication elements, she hired and supervised the team of editorial, interactive and web production, videography, graphic design, and public relations professionals who worked to create the landmark project, which brought 896,657 visitors to the exhibition on Alcatraz.

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally renowned both as a maker of potent and provocative art and as a passionate advocate for human rights and freedom of expression. His art and ideas found a compelling context in this exhibition of works created specifically for Alcatraz — 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.

The exhibition was honored as an outstanding public art project by the 2015 Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Year in Review; nominated for “Best Presentation in an Alternative Venue” by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA-USA); and included in “Best of 2014” lists by the Huffington Post, Architectural Digest, Artsy, and Kickstarter.

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Image Credits

  • Top: Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation.
  • Middle: Exhibition Identity: @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation.
  • Bottom left: Alcatraz Island; photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation.
  • Bottom right: FOR-SITE Foundation Executive Director Cheryl Haines with Ai Weiwei at the artist’s studio in Beijing, June 2014; photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation.