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Ai Weiwei’s Status Still Unknown; Studio Occupied by Police [LIVEBLOG]

On Sunday morning Beijing time, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was arrested and detained at the airport on his way to Hong Kong. We haven’t heard from the artist since. Ai’s studio remains occupied by police forces though the larger neighborhood of Caochangdi is unaffected at present. Studio assistants, including foreigners, are being questioned by the police. This post will be live updated with news.

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Japanese Tsunami Damages National Treasures

Beyond a rising death toll of over 10,800, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan has also damaged a current total of 353 Japanese cultural landmarks, including temples, historic sites and iconic landscapes called “places of scenic beauty.” The Matsushima area, north of Sendai, is among the worst hit in terms of cultural damage. Sites damaged include Matsushima’s Zuigan-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple complex founded in 828 whose walls were cracked in the earthquake, as well as 3 other National Treasures.

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Japanese Modernist Landmark Preserved in Manhattan

At only 40 years old, Japan Society’s low-slung modernist headquarters at 333 East 47th Street has just been named New York’s youngest landmark building by the state’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The structure, designed by Junzo Yoshimura and George G. Shimamoto and first completed in 1971, translates traditional Japanese architectural forms into a modernist idiom, bowing to neither but combining the two languages in an innovative and complex way. I spoke with Japan Society vice president Joe Earle about the landmark designation and his experience of the building itself.

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Will Richard Prince Have to Destroy Rasta Photos?

The result of a lawsuit levied against Richard Prince’s “Canal Zone” series of photos has determined that the artist may be forced to destroy the works, as they violate copyright laws protecting the series of photographs appropriated by Prince, “Yes Rasta” by French photographer Patrick Cariou. In the end, what happens to Prince’s work is up to Cariou. The court case revolved around whether or not Prince’s alterations of the Cariou’s photos constituted total transformations of the originals, and thus protected under fair use laws. The answer handed down by the court was that Prince’s works didn’t count as fair use of the images — in a word, Prince’s works were too derivative.

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Is Japanese Radiation Bad For Art? [UPDATE]

According to the Japanese Chunichi Shimbun newspaper, an exhibition called The Birth of French Impressionism set to open at the Prefectural Art Museum in Hiroshima City on April 5 has been canceled due to the cancellation of art loans from France. The loans seem to have been canceled because of fear of radiation damage to the artworks due to the Japanese earthquake and its aftereffects on the area’s nuclear power plants. No one wants to see an irradiated Cezanne! Yet a glance at a map of Japan shows that the French could be worrying a little too much. [Hat tip to Annie Bissett]

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