Events December 14-16: Ai Weiwei’s Ceramics, Mayan Calendar and Stradivari’s Instruments

Learn about the contemporary artist’s use of historic objects, why the world didn’t end and just what’s so special about Stradivari in concert

Ai Weiwei’s use of historic materials
Ai Weiwei’s use of historic materials is the topic of discussion at Friday’s gallery talk at the Hirshhorn. Courtesy the museum

Friday, December 14: Gallery Talk: Ai Weiwei’s Artworks

The contemporary artist Ai Weiwei often draws from the past for his inspiration but the results can be both unsettling and controversial. The artist has taken urns up to 7,000 years old and vessels from the Han and Qing dynasties and splashed them with bright colors and even destroyed them, dropping and breaking the precious pieces in a series of stunning black and white photographs. Georgetown University Asian art history professor Michelle C. Wang will be at the Hirshhorn to discuss some of the ceramic pieces in the exhibit, “Ai Weiwei: According to What” and to discuss the controversy. Free. 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Hirshhorn Museum.

Saturday, December 15: Bak’tun 13 Festival: Maya Calendar Tradition and the Way of Life with Roderico Teni and José Barreiro

And this just in. For all you Mayan calendar worriers. The world did not end on 12/12/12. Now’s your opportunity to learn a bit more about the culture behind the calendar. Join Roderico Teni, who works with Maya communities in Guatemala to both preserve the culture and to help improve everyday life as well as José Barreiro, director of the American Indian Museum’s Office of Latin America. Get the real story behind the calendar and why the earth didn’t end after all. Free. 11:30 a.m. American Indian Museum.

Sunday, December 16: The Axelrod String Quartet 2012-2013 Sunday Concert Series

Indulge in some Sunday entertainment with the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and its legendary instruments made by Antonio Stradivari and his teacher Nicolo Amati. Brought to you by the Smithsonian Associates, here’s a classy opportunity to see and be seen, one of a three part series of concerts. This week’s installment features the music of Haydn, Barber, and Mendelssohn. So put your best dress on and fix your hair up pretty and head to the Smithsonian to hear some virtuosic music. Tickets. 6:30 p.m. American History Museum.

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