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.
Though the artist remains arrested and his whereabouts and status are still unknown, Ai Weiwei has been offered a guest professorship at Berlin’s University of the Arts, the official position financed by the Einstein Foundation and supported by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Meanwhile, NYU professor Jeremy Cohen writes that Ai’s legal case doesn’t look good.
Hong Kong news channel and media organization RTHK is reporting that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has confessed to tax charges under torture. The original article came from a reporter claiming to work for Xinhua, the state-run media mouthpiece of the Chinese government.
Internet users looking for information on Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s arrest will now find another roadblock put in their way, as Ai Weiwei-related hashtags are now being spammed by Chinese-language bots. Hashtags including #aiweiwei and #freeaiweiwei are being bombarded with semi-risque jokes and one-liners.
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.
At 1pm EST today near the Chinese embassy in Manhattan, out by the water at 520 Twelfth Avenue, a congregation of chairs gathered. Art worlders, community members and human rights activists came out in force, to the tune of a few hundred, to protest for the release of Ai Weiwei, the internationally-famed artist who has been detained by the Chinese government for the past two weeks without charge. Click through to check out a photo essay of the protest featuring a diverse group of chairs, Jerry Saltz and protesters young and old (plus a dog concerned for Panda Bears).
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.
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.
Today Hyperallergic is launching Ai Weiwei Watch, a permanent liveblog of the events and issues surrounding Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s arrest. Our initial two liveblogs covered the artist’s detainment and early news, but the controversy has gone international, provoking diplomatic reactions from France, Germany and the US, statements released by major artists and uncountable words of commentary online and in print. This post will collect any and all news, including translations from Chinese sources. Photos are also being published from inside Ai’s studio, post-arrest. Check them out below.
The latest: Ai is being charged with “economic crimes,” and even though the government argues “the law won’t bend” for Ai, his detainment is actually illegal under Chinese law.
Though he is the most visible victim, artist Ai Weiwei’s arrest is only one symptom of a greater crackdown on free expression in China that has been deemed the “Big Chill.” Other victims detained and arrested include writers, lawyers and Chinese cultural figures.