Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai Studio Now Demolished

A photo from the demolition of Ai Weiwei's Shanghai studio (photo from

In Fall of 2010, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was requested by city officials to vacate his newly built Shanghai studio so that it could be demolished. The weird thing is that the Shanghai government were the ones to ask Ai to build the studio. Following a blow-out demolition party on November 7 that Ai couldn’t attend (he was under house arrest), the studio has been emptied and demolished.

  • Pictures are all that remain of the Ai’s Shanghai studio complex, but the photos of the demolition itself are particularly powerful. China’s Global Times reports that the demolition began on Tuesday morning and was complete by Wednesday night. “The demolition notice was issued on October 19,” Global Times writes, “and it said the studio failed to follow proper application procedures.”
  • Flickr user Duyanpili has a photostream documenting the destruction of the studio, including pictures of the demolition crew.
  • Shanghaiist has another set of photos of the demolition, and notes that Ai suspects that the destruction of the studio was a direct result of his political activities.
  • The New York Times has an extensive report on the studio’s destruction in which Ai adds that a neighboring studio the artist had designed for a friend was also demolished. Demolition of the studio also began without Ai’s knowing; government officials had earlier agreed not to destroy the structure before the Chinese New Year in February.
  • The Art Newspaper notes that controversy shows no signs up letting up for Ai Weiwei, with the artist planning an exhibition in October of 2011 at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan.
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