Future Exhibition Tickets on sale

Ai Weiwei: Making Sense

Ai Weiwei's first exhibition focusing on design will mix recent works with commissioned pieces, inviting us into a meditation on value and humanity, art and activism.

What to expect

Ai Weiwei is one of the most significant and recognised artists working today. Known around the world for his powerful art and activism, Ai does not differentiate between disciplines: his practice glides across art, architecture, design, film, collecting and curating.

This major exhibition, developed in collaboration with the artist, will be the first to present his work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values. Through his engagement with material culture, Ai explores the tension between past and present, hand and machine, precious and worthless, construction and destruction.

The exhibition draws on Ai fascination with historical Chinese artefacts, placing their traditional craftsmanship in dialogue with the more recent history of demolition and urban development in China. The result is a meditation on value – on histories and skills that have been ignored or erased.

Discover some of the artist’s most important works displayed alongside collections of objects that have never been seen and new commissions made for the exhibition.


© Ela Bialkowska OKNO Studio

© Ela Bialkowska OKNO Studio

Ai Weiwei, Marble Toilet Paper , 2020. © Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

Untitled (LEGO Incident) . © Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

© Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

Ai Weiwei, Glass Helmet, 2022. © Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

Ai Weiwei, Marble Takeout Box, 2015 . © Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

Pre-book online

Booking Information

Adult tickets from £15.00
Children aged 11 to 15 from £7.50
Under 11s go free
Concession/Student tickets from £11.25

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Visit our terms & conditions page for further information.

The exhibition opens on 7 April. Online pre-booking is advised. Tickets will also be available to buy at the door subject to availability.

From the opening date, you will be able to download the exhibition text in a large print format from the access information page.

Principal Funder: The Reuben Foundation

Committed to the betterment of society in the UK and around the globe in the areas of education, health and the community, The Foundation has recently supported The Reuben Foundation Maternity Centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, The Reuben Gallery at the BAFTA home on 195 Piccadilly, the Future Film Festival as well as international scholarships including The Reuben Scholarship Programme in partnership with the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, UCL and ARK Schools.

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With additional support from the Ai Weiwei Supporters Circle: David and Debbie Stileman, Bianca and Stuart Roden, John Burbank, Anne-Lindsay Makepeace and Tarun Jotwani.

Related events

An Evening with Ai Weiwei

On the evening before the exhibition the exhibitions opens, join us for this special exhibition preview and talk. Design Museum Chief Curator Justin McGuirk will be in conversation with artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

Please note: Tickets are now sold out

BSL Tour of Ai Weiwei: Making Sense

Join guide Edward Richards for a special tour of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, delivered in British Sign Language.

Workshop: Create in Clay

Taking inspiration from our upcoming exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, this one-day workshop will be an opportunity to have an immersive pottery experience trying a wide range of techniques and approaches.

On Collecting: Sense and Sensibility

Join us for a conversation that dives into the act of collecting, prompted by the ‘fields’ in the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense. We will explore collections as sites for making sense, and modes of collecting seemingly ordinary things.

Audio Described Tour of Ai Weiwei: Making Sense

Join guides Andrew Mashigo and Lynn Cox for a special tour of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, for blind and and visually impaired visitors.


Ai Weiwei & Avant Arte

Created in collaboration with Avant Arte to accompany his landmark exhibition, a series of editions by Ai Weiwei present new opportunities to collect seminal moments and motifs from his expansive body of work.


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2023 Programme

Discover what else is coming up this year.