Is it time for the Western art world to join Chinese social media? That depends on your goals. “I don’t see any reason for anyone not directly involved in the Beijing/Shanghai art world to be on Weibo,” argued Robin Peckham. “It’s more about back-and-forth in-scene and doesn’t have much application in terms of PR and such, at least on the small scale of galleries and organizations.” Indeed, Chinese sites like Weibo and Douban, even as they gain more attention from the West, remain predominantly Chinese in both language and user base.
A few months ago, Tom Cruise made waves in both Chinese and Western media by announcing that he had joined Sina Weibo, the popular Chinese microblogging tool used by Chinese and, now, Western celebrities. “We’re having fun talking to you and our new friend at http://t.sina.com.cn/” his Chief Information Officer announced. Cruise is a special case, of course. But his popularity reflects something of an “Ashton moment” in terms of the attention Chinese social media have been received lately from the West. Sina’s strategy, which was to bring prominent public figures in both entertainment and politics to the service, has paid off.
Tyler Green has this incredible story — China is demanding the return of two marble chair sculptures by Ai Weiwei recently bought by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego due to a claimed export license problem. Is China trying to censor Ai’s work abroad?
Xinhua reports that Ai Weiwei’s FAKE studio evaded tax and intentionally destroyed accounting documents. US museums debate the ethics of working with Chinese organizations. Art Basel buys the Art HK fair, provoking some to call for a boycott.
Director of Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Alison Klayman hit the Colbert Report last night to talk about the Chinese artist’s arrest and his current situation. Click through for the video clip.
At around 11:30 PM EST, the AP reported that detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was allowed a family visit with his wife Lu Qing at an undisclosed location. The artist is reportedly in good health.
Think Beijing’s historic Forbidden City is pretty well guarded? Well, you’d be right, the place is infested with security. Yet that didn’t stop a thief from grabbing $1.5 million worth of artifacts from the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City.
Despite a very public unveiling of his sculpture in NYC, Ai Weiwei remains missing. A commercial solo show of the artist’s work will go on display at Lisson Gallery in London while protesting graffiti artists were arrested in Hong Kong. Ai’s case still doesn’t look good, says Peter Foster.
Finishing off this week with some Ai Weiwei news, the story continues to develop. China says Ai’s arrest has nothing to do with freedom of expression, Ai’s rocker friend is returned following a disappearance, academy Chinese artist Xu Bing disavows a relationship with politics.
A distributed denial of service attack carried out by Chinese hackers took down Change.org’s petition to free Ai Weiwei yesterday. Led by the Guggenheim museum and support by major international art figures, the petition has been gaining steam with over 90,000 signatures. The site is now back online.
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.
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.