We recently visited the art exhibit by Ai Wei Wei on Alcatraz. It's aptly entitled @large, and is comprised of a series of provocative installations. Neither one of us had previously visited the island, save for a few unfortunate childhood social-indoctrination-class trip memories, and we were uncertain how impactful the experience would feel, especially considering that it is now primarily a tourist destination.
Immediately, however, our apprehensions were displaced, and we were plunged into the many layers of the island. Not only were we immersed in the perfectly crafted and expertly executed stories of the prison( no pun intended), we also succumbed to the natural beauty of this National Park, resplendent with wildlife and absolutely incredible views of the city. We learned on our tour of this historic site that the inmates used to press their ears, ever so longingly, to the bars, in the hopes that they could hear a song or two, wafting in on the whitecaps, off the gentle shores.
Almost a mixture of the bravado of Andy Warhol (at the MOMA) or Banksy (unbeknownst in Central Park), Ai Wei Wei completely captivates the spirited and unsheltered imaginations of those who choose to visit the exhibit. The installation in the New Industries Building, in particular, was absolutely spectacular. It's as politically charged as it is artistically motivated, and one can't help put peer across the minutia of the Lego pieces, enchanted to think bigger.