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Ai Weiwei’s first U.S. building is an artful block of concrete

A blank canvas for art

Concrete building with dry landscaping Photo by Jeff McLane

Ai Weiwei, maker of conceptual art and public sculptures, has had dalliances with architecture in the past. Now he’s taken to designing full-scale buildings with a new space in Los Angeles for the United Talent Agency, an entertainment company that also happens to represent the artist.

In a very meta relationship, Weiwei transformed a former diamond tooling factory into the agency’s new exhibition space called the UTA Artist Space. The 4,000 square foot warehouse will play home to the company’s exhibitions and public programming, including a show of Weiwei’s work that recently opened.

From the outside, the building is a nondescript block of concrete, a bit like a brutalist post office. Inside, the warehouse has more character than a typical gallery. Weiwei designed the interior space with vaulted wood beams that rest below a series of angled skylights. Sash windows line the perimeter of the building, allowing light to flow in and naturally illuminate the art.

Gallery space with concrete floors and vaulted wood beam ceiling Photo by Jeff McLane
Gallery space with wood beam ceiling Photo by Jeff McLane