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Sky Ladder

The Sky Ladder is a 1,650-foot ladder of fire climbing into the skies above artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s hometown. Told through the artist’s own words and those of family, friends and observers, the film tracks Cai’s meteoric rise and examines why he engineers artworks that loom as far as the eye can see.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Year: 2016
Time: 76 min
Club Member Rating:
 Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang
(2016) on IMDb

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Engage with the arts! You’ve already watched a documentary, so you’re on the right track. Now, go out in your community, visit galleries, museums, theaters, clubs, a fireworks show and take it all in!

Advocate for immigrant artists! Programs like the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program pairs immigrant artists from all disciplines with artist mentors who provide their mentees with one-on-one support.

Donate to organizations like the Asian Cultural Council, which pledges “to advance international dialogue, understanding, and respect through cultural exchanges that nurture the individual talents of artists and scholars in Asia and the United States.”

Related Articles and Resources

Meet the Artist Who Blows Things Up for a Living

With ethereal artworks traced in flames and gunpowder, Cai Guo Qiang is making a big bang.

Read the full article on the Smithsonian.

Gunpowder Plots

Cai Guo-Qiang, the Chinese installation and pyrotechnic artist, recently told me that as a child he had a recurrent dream of a fireworks display in Tiananmen Square at which no one was present—no crew, no audience—except him.

Read the full article on the New Yorker.

Original Sky Ladder Event Press Release

On June 15, 2015 at 4:49 am, Cai Guo-Qiang realized the explosion event Sky Ladder off the shore of Huiyu Island, a small and picturesque fishing village in the artist’s hometown of Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China.

Continue reading from the Cai Studio Newsletter.

Cai Guo-Qiang

Visit the artist’s official website.

Can Propaganda Be Great Art?

Art with a political agenda is often considered inferior – but that’s not fair, writes Alastair Sooke.

Continue reading on the BBC.

The History of Fireworks: From the Holy Spirit to the Fires of Hell

Fireworks haven’t always been a symbol of celebration.

Find out more on the Washington Post.

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