Art at Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, Calif.

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, Calif.

I recently made a day trip to Alcatraz. There is a scene in my upcoming mystery novel that takes place on “The Rock,” so I wanted to gather insight.   This defunct prison is not the cheeriest of venues, but, unlike the former prisoners, I knew I would be leaving again soon.


Weiwei Dragon Kite exhibit "With Wind"

Weiwei Dragon Kite exhibit “With Wind”


It so happens that there is also a poignant art show currently exhibited at Alcatraz.  The artist is Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, and the exhibit is entitled “@ Large.”


There are several installations throughout the island designed to “…address the situation of people around the world who have been deprived of their freedom for speaking out about their beliefs….”  (Quoted from the brochure.)  There is a good NY Times article describing Weiwei’s exhibit, click here to read it.


Weiwei exhibit "Trace"

Weiwei exhibit “Trace”

I liked the exhibit very much.  It succeeds in heightening awareness of the radical importance of our civil rights and freedom.  Pictured here are two installations.


The Chinese dragon kite exhibit is entitled “With Wind.”  The other exhibit called “Trace” consists of 1.2 million Lego pieces displaying portraits of 176 political prisoners and exiles around the world.  For more about all the installations, click here.


All artists use their gifts to inspire, and we are fortunate to see Weiwei’s passion, expression, and art in spite of his imprisonment.  As for my art, I am happy to report that Golden Gate Graveyard is progressing well.  A fun mystery novel set in San Francisco, it presents an intriguing puzzle to the backdrop of famous, infamous, and beautiful sites of the city.  Read more about my books here. 


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander


"Trace" Exhibit featuring Edward Snowden (on left)

“Trace” Exhibit. Edward Snowden on left.






29 thoughts on “Art at Alcatraz

  1. I had no idea there was an art exhibit out on “the rock” – looks amazing. Your novel sounds most intriguing! I love fun mysteries and what better place for a setting than the city by the bay! jan

    • I agree, Joanne. It’s very moving and innovative. Due to his detention he had to design and implement the entire exhibit without being there, using assistants. I’m glad you liked it, and appreciate your comment. 😀

  2. I’m happy to hear about the upcoming book, Jet! Thank you for the photo of Weiwei’s With Wind. If I am not mistaken, Smithsonian Mag. had an article about him.

  3. If I ever get a chance to go to California again, I’d take a look at “The Rock”. My bucket list is overflowing already! 🙂

    • I’m glad I could vicariously bring you along Sue. I went in Oct. & had to book 2 wks in advance, and that was after waiting for the summer & tourist season to lighten. It’s a popular place, as you know. Great to hear from you! 😀

    • That’s wonderful, BJ. In the comments section a fellow blogger, Amy, pointed out that the Smithsonia Mag. had an article on it Oct. 14, there’s a link for that too. All the best to you– 😀

    • It is an interesting place, Takami. The exhibit was great and touring the island is too. But my favorite part is being on an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay: the awesome views in every direction, gulls cruising overhead, being on this huge, quiet rock while bridges in the distance sizzle with activity. A treat to hear from you! 😀

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the exhibit, Indah. And thanks for the interest in my book. This week is my 65th week working on this novel, so I look forward to wrapping it up in the springtime. It’s a good one! Many thanks! 😀

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