Cai Guo-Qiang. Photo by Jeff Fusco, courtesy of Association for Public Art.
Cai Guo-Qiang’s practice spans a range of media in contemporary art, including drawing, installation, video, and performance art, alongside Chinese traditions in medicine, art, and placemaking. The artist is internationally known for his virtuosic and poetic use of fireworks and gunpowder. He has been honored with many awards, including the 48th Venice Biennale International Golden Lion Prize in 1999, the 2013 US Department of State Medal of Arts, and the Praemium Imperiale in 2012. Cai is also known for his work as the Director of Visual and Special Effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In 2016, Netflix released Sky Ladder, a film documenting one of Cai’s most celebrated public projects. In 2017 with Center support, the Association for Public Art commissioned Cai to present Fireflies, a large-scale, interactive public artwork along Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, featuring kinetic sculptures inspired by Chinese pedicycles.