In Fall of 2010, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was requested by government officials to vacate his newly built Shanghai studio so that it could be demolished. The weird thing is that the Shanghai city government were the ones to ask Ai to build the studio. Following a blow-out demolition party on November 7, the studio has been emptied and demolished.
Top Ten Twitter Follows for Chinese Art
As far as the year in social media goes, Twitter is far and away my choice for a handy source of updates, information and air-testing inside the art world or out. Pretty much anything that you want to know about gets broadcast into your Twitter stream with a good enough group of follows. To the end of blowing up your Twitterverse, I wanted to give you my personal recommendations for ten English-language Twitter follows that will help you keep track of the Chinese contemporary art world.
Send Christmas Cards to Imprisoned Artist Wu Yuren
In a protest that has become practice in China, Karen Patterson is starting a movement to flood imprisoned Chinese artist Wu Yuren (AKA “Little Ai”) with Christmas cards as a gesture of support. The artist has been imprisoned for his participation in a protest against studio demolitions since May 31, 2010.
Ai Weiwei’s Internet Cut, Banned From Leaving China
In advance of the awarding of the Nobel Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese government severely restricted travel for a group of liberal intellectuals who they fear may have attempted to attend the ceremony. Ai Weiwei was among those banned, though the artist recently has been a magnet for political controversy himself after a planned party to celebrate a government-mandated studio demolition ended in house arrest to prevent Ai from attending.
To me, it looks like Chinese political pressure is coming to a head for Ai and his time living with any freedom in the country may be coming to an end.
Ai Weiwei Attends “Little Ai” Trial, Wu Yuren’s Fate Still Uncertain
RT @markmackinnon: Dissident artist @aiww, freed from own house arrest, argues with police outside Wu Yuren trial http://twitpic.com/37i26l
Ai Weiwei Under House Arrest For Studio Party
A number of news sources are reporting that Chinese art great Ai Weiwei is under house arrest in his north Beijing home. “I am under house arrest,” Mr Ai told The Daily Telegraph by telephone. “They asked me not to go and to tell everyone the party was off, but I said I couldn’t do that and they’d have to stop me.”
Chinese Artist Bleeds For Democracy [NSFW]
Chinese blogger Mélanie Wang has a report — with graphic photos — of an October 10th performance by artist He Yunchang (Ah Chang) where he executed his new work “One Meter Democracy” at Cao Chang Di in Beijing.
Wang describes the performance and its premise: “At the beginning, he presented his proposal … he would cut a wound on the right side of his body all the way from the clavicle down to below his knee; a wound one-meter long and 0.5-1cm deep. The whole process would be executed under the assistance of a medical doctor, yet without anesthesia.”
Ai Weiwei Spreads a Sunflower Seed Carpet at Tate’s Turbine Hall
Ai Weiwei, internationally famed artist and chief provocateur of the Chinese art world, opened his London Turbine Hall installation today, the eleventh, and first for an Asian artist, in the Tate’s Unilever series of exhibitions.
The installation forms a gesture both classic for the artist and yet totally unexpected: a carpet of sunflower seeds now covers over 1,000 of the Turbine Hall’s 3,400 square meters of floorspace, in total over 150 tons. Photos from afar show an unmeasurable expanse of gray, a rectangular infinity that calls to mind Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s candy fields: part minimalist, part maximalist. The seed carpet is visually stunning, but beyond its striking appearance, the installation has a deep political, historical and social background.
Aiko’s “Blog Post of an Exhibition” in Shanghai
Aiko’s recent exhibition at Andrew James Fine Art in Shanghai was actually made entirely in that Chinese city while she participated in the gallery’s residency program. This locality lends the work a different significance, a home-grown quality that’s reflected in the mix-in of Shanghai street signs and graphic elements. What we see is not so much a heroic, tragic artist struggling to produce a masterpiece, but a practicing artist reflecting the time and the place she occupies.
London’s Xylo Creates Street iPhones to Highlight Chinese Suicides
Xylo is a street artist who has just started mounting fake iPhones to the walls of London. They’re designed to raise awareness about the electronic worker suicides in China and some of the social injustices feeding our electronic obsession.
Why Does the US Pavilion at Expo 2010 Suck?
If you’ve been looking at the spectacular photos coming out of Expo 2010, which opened in Shanghai last weekend, then you’re probably wondering the same thing everyone else is, “Wow, what a spectacular display of modern architecture and design, but … wait a minute, why does the United States pavilion suck so much?” One word: corruption.
In Retaliation to MoMA’s “@” Acquisition, China Acquires the Rest of the Keyboard
The Xinhua News Agency is reporting that the Chinese authorities have ordered the National Museum of China to lay claim to the rest of the keyboard fearing that the acquisition of “@” by the Museum of Modern Art would lead to a flood of acquisitions by other American institutions. [SPOOF]