PHILADELPHIA — Unlike too many pop artists, Chinese artist Liu Bolin has managed to retain a balance, or maybe a synergy, between popular throwaway aesthetics and the conceptual, while keeping the work readable to a wide audience. His work is designed to go viral, but it isn’t as shallow as a LOLCAT. Of course, viral ideas don’t come around every day, and advertisers love them, so it should come as little surprise that Bolin’s Hiding In The Cities series has been blatantly ripped off by a number of advertisers across countries and trades.
James Cohan Gallery’s most recent show Catch the Moon in the Water is an unexpected and thought provoking riff on the summer group show. The exhibition reflects on the work of young Chinese artists. The show’s title refers to the impossibility of capturing the moon from its reflection.
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.
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.
Ai Weiwei assistant Duyan Pili broke the news that Ai’s FAKE studio architect Liu Zhenggang and accountant Hu Mingfen have also been released from custody following the artist’s release two days ago. Ai’s cousin and driver Zhang Jinsong was released yesterday. Reporter Wen Tao is still detained, but hopes run high for his release.
Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been released, as has his cousin Zhang Jinsong, but that doesn’t mean the story is over. Ai’s legal case is still open, China is still detaining and jailing dissidents and the Ai’s freedom may just be political image clean-up for the government. What does the release actually mean?
Beijing government news outlet Xinhua has just announced that detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been released on bail, having confessed to his tax crimes and stated his willingness to pay the taxes he is said to have evaded. “A chronic disease” that the artist suffers from was also a factor in his release.
Today in putting your money where your mouth is: famed British artist Anish Kapoor has rejected an offer to show his work at the National Museum of China in Beijing in protest of Ai Weiwei’s ongoing arrest and detention. This, plus Chinese artists arrested for mounting a protest exhibition and the US State Department speaking out against Chinese cyber attacks on the Guggenheim’s Change.org Ai petition.
Dan Keegan, director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, has recently been shoving his foot farther and farther into his mouth with statements about museums’ role in politics. Namely, he thinks that museums should be apolitical, and he has stated that his museum’s decision to collaborate with Chinese museums and show Chinese do not have any relationship to China’s arrest and detainment of artist Ai Weiwei.
According to Keegan, protesting China’s detaining of Ai Weiwei, an internationally regarded artist, is not only ineffective, but wrong. “We don’t do protests … I would say very emphatically that we should not protest ever,” the director said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Mary Louise Schumacher. In an international situation such as Ai’s arrest, can museums avoid being political? Can they avoid caring about the well-being of the artists they support and show? I would argue that art institutions have to be political, and the protesting, far from being wrong, is exactly what museums should be doing.
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.
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.