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1001 Chairs Protest for Ai Weiwei This Weekend

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been missing for 12 days without official charge from the Chinese government. In protest, artists and activists all over the world are planning a global sit-in this Sunday, April 17 at 1 pm, staking out Chinese embassies with 1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei, a take on Ai Weiwei’s 2007 “Fairytale” project in Kassel, Germany.

All over the world, protesters will bring chairs to Chinese embassies and consulates and “sit peacefully” in support of Ai. Spearheaded by New York City’s own Creative Time, the organization writes that “1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei calls for [Ai’s] immediate release, supporting the right of artists to speak and work freely in China and around the world.” See the event’s Facebook page for details, including gathering places and times all over the world.

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Smithsonian Censor Wins Muzzle Award

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has given out one of its annual “Jefferson Muzzle” awards to Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough for his removal of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly” video and censoring of Hide/Seek at the National Portrait Gallery. That’s one trophy we assume won’t be going on display in his home.

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Budget Cuts May Kill a $9.5 Million Art Grant Program

The list of domestic spending cuts for the new national budget announced by the US government this morning includes $13 million in funding cuts for both the NEA and the NEH, but that’s just the start of the damage. $8.5 million has been cut from the NGA budget, and reduced funding to a program that supports Washington’s private artistic organizations by 75 percent.

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The Backlash Against Ai Weiwei

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is still missing after his arrest over a week ago, so the story now turns around how the arrest is being discussed in international dialogue. US, German and French officials have called for Ai’s release, but others, including one German museum director and a segment of Chinese netizens, publicly disagree with Ai Weiwei’s personal political methods.

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Ai Weiwei Watch: Ai as Plagiarizer, Hong Kong Protest Pics, Driver and Accountant Arrested [UPDATE 1]

Ai Weiwei has not been heard from for or seen in over a week now, but despite the lack of news from the artist, the story of his arrest keeps developing. In this update, a protest is held for Ai in Hong Kong, with a prominent government opposition leader joining in, and Ai’s driver and accountant are also arrested after a visit from police. In a bizarre turn, the Chinese government’s Xinhua news service has accused Ai of plagiarizing the idea for his “Fairytale Project” (performed in Kassel, Germany in 2007) from a lesser known Chinese art professor, even though the professor and “victim” denies the claim.

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Does Bravo’s New Gallery Girls Reality Show Rip Off an Indie Webcomic?

There have been rumors that Bravo is developing a new “reality” TV show based around the lives of Chelsea’s young, questionably glamorous gallerinas, but with an April 6 announcement came confirmation and a title: the show in development is named “Gallery Girls,” and will “follow the lives of 6 young, 20-something women that work in New York City’s hippest art galleries.” The announcement was met with an immediate negative reaction — “Gallery Girls” happens to also be the name of a webcomic, created and copyrighted in October 2008 by Chinatown resident Mary Blakemore, that covers much the same territory as Bravo’s proposed show. Is Bravo’s show a rip off of Blakemore’s comic? Or could this be a case of unintentional copyright infringement?

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