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Anish Kapoor Snubs China, Supports Ai Weiwei

Anish Kapoor (image via simonblogmajordesign.blogspot.com)

Kapoor Snubs China

Today in putting your money where your mouth is: famed British artist Anish Kapoor has rejected an offer to show his work at the National Museum of China in Beijing in protest of Ai Weiwei’s ongoing arrest and detention. This, plus Chinese artists arrested for mounting a protest exhibition and the US State Department speaking out against Chinese cyber attacks on the Guggenheim’s Change.org Ai petition.

The British Council asked Kapoor to consider an exhibition at Beijing’s National Museum as part of a festival of UK art, but considering the artist dedicated the unveiling of his latest sculpture “Leviathan” to Ai Weiwei’s plight, the council probably didn’t stand a chance. After Kapoor’s outspoken comments against the Chinese government’s treatment of Ai, it’s probably better all around that Kapoor back out now instead of being forced out, like, say, Bjork. The artist is sticking to his guns, reports The Art Newspaper, and providing a welcome example for the international community of museums and artists looking to support Ai.

State Dept Fights Chinese Hackers

Chinese hackers have intermittently been trying to take down Change.org, the host of a petition started by the Guggenheim calling for Ai’s release. The US State Department has already spoken out against China’s treatment of Ai, but now the department is aggressively trying to combat this cyber warfare, reports Artists Speak Out. “Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Baer raised the case of Change.org directly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while in Beijing,” the website was notified in a letter written by Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Joseph E. Macmanus.

The Chinese government has still not responded. It’s not likely they will, given that such attacks are almost impossible to trace and difficult to assign to any particular group or organization. In the meantime, Change.org is still under attack and is now working with a security firm to ensure the site stays up.

Here’s the petition, currently at 141,000 signatures.

Chinese Artist Remains Detained After Protest Exhibition

Artist Fei Xiaosheng (image via reuters.com)

After staging an exhibition for the Third Incidental Art Festival in which they left one wall blank save for a label showing support for Ai Weiwei, Beijing-based artists Lin Bing and Fei Xiaosheng were called in for questioning by police Wednesday evening after the opening of their photography exhibit at CCD300 Modern Art and Design Center, reports Reuters. Lin Bing has returned, but Fei is remains missing. Lin earlier said that Ai would have participated in the exhibition had he not been in police custody.

There has been no word of Ai Weiwei since the artist was allowed to see his wife in mid-May, looking healthy but shaken. The Chinese government’s ongoing detainment of the artists is illegal under Chinese law, but there is little to do but keep protesting and communicating about the artist’s situation.

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