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Posted inNews

Ai Weiwei Associate Suffers Heart Attack During Interrogation

The New York Times reports that the lawyer representing Ai Weiwei’s studio is fighting the $2 million USD fines that Ai’s studio faces for charges of “tax evasion.” Liu Zhenggang and Hu Mingfen have technically been released, as has reporter Wen Tao, but none of them have yet been seen in person. Statements by Chinese authorities say that Liu suffered a heart attack while under interrogation and was transported to a hospital.

Posted inOpinion

Is Holland Going Through a Cultural Meltdown? [UPDATED]

You may have seen it in the New York Times: a half-page ad warning readers “Do not enter the Netherlands. Cultural meltdown in progress.” The ad (which apparently cost $26,000) was bought by a group called Dutch Artists 2011 to protest the catastrophic funding cuts proposed by Holland’s Geert Wilders, the far-right leader of the Party for Freedom (the third largest political party in the country). Wilders would cut arts funding from €800 million to €200 million, decimating Dutch cultural organizations. Where does the situation stand now?

Posted inArt

How Ai Weiwei Saw New York City

Ever wondered what New York City looks like through the eyes of a great artist? In a newly opened exhibition at Asia Society, viewers get the chance to see how recently released Chinese artist Ai Weiwei saw New York City in a series of diaristic photos taken between 1983 and 1993.

Posted inBooks

Too Many MFAs Spoil the Zine

Birdsong, the local Williamsburg zine now in its 15th issue, is a blend of short stories, poems, drawings, collages and photographs: it is primarily a literary magazine that features artwork woven between each written piece. Birdsong’s appeal can be summed up nicely by the resumes of the artists and writers who contribute to it …

Posted inArt

Thinking About Art and Devotion

Art as a messenger of belief is nothing new. From the obvious ostentatious examples like the Sistine Chapel, to the much more ephemeral Buddhist sand mandalas, faith has often driven artistic creation. Yet, can art be a system of belief in itself? The artists in Architecture of Devotion at the Gowanus Ballroom definitely put a lot of faith in their own creative views as they all respond to this history of artistic devotion.

Posted inArt

An Abstract Moment in Chelsea

Checking out the Chelsea gallery scene last week, my results were surprisingly mixed — from overly offbeat summer shows to nonsensical group exhibitions, the galleries just didn’t seem to have it together. But one thread did emerge in my wanderings. I discovered that Chelsea was having a brief love affair with big abstraction, wall-size pieces that dominated their respective art spaces. Works by Sol Lewitt, Keith Haring, Li Songsong and Garth Weiser all packed a refreshing amount of visual punch, brightening a hazy summer day.

Posted inOpinion

Ethical Africa Bag Collection May Actually Help People

At Pitti Immagine, one of the largest fashion trade shows in Florence, Dame Vivienne Westwood debuted her second Ethical Fashion Africa Collection in partnership with the International Trade Centre. The first, back in February, was a small offering of three tote bags, but for her sophomore effort she came back with a fuller collection of totes, handbags, duffles and key chains. Though she says of Africa, “I’ve never been before, [and] I shall probably never go again…”, she appears to be getting a lot accomplished in this one shot.

Posted inNews

Ai Weiwei to Pay $2 Million in Tax Penalties, Chinese Art Scene Moves On

According to Ai Weiwei’s lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan, Ai’s FAKE studio has been accused (and seemingly convicted) of evading over 5 million RMB ($770,000 USD) and is to pay 7 million RMB ($1 million USD) in fines, together totaling around $2 million USD. Ai’s mother Gao Ying speaks on her son’s arrest, release and current condition. In the meantime, the Chinese art scene continues business as usual, with the exception of some ripples — a well-known artist-run cafe has been closed by the authorities.