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Sunday 04.03.11

« First Weekend Picks April 2011 | Main | art school openings »

Ai Weiwei arrested

Ai Weiwei has been arrested, along with many other writers and bloggers critical of the Chinese government. PORT interviewed Ai Wewei last fall for his show at MoCC. This arrest seems like a more full scale government crackdown on activists rather than their typical loosening and tightening cycle. We will post updates as they occur.

Overall, art requires peace and protected freedoms... it's the canary in the coalmine. Indeed Ai has chosen to be that canary...and in doing so has made the Chinese Govenment choose whether he is an artist or a political dissident. If he can't be both it is the Chinese government, which is then judged accordingly. It is a brilliant and very dangerous game.


Missing for 36 hours France and Germany lead call for Wei Wei's immediate release.

In response to an ominous move by the Chinese Govenment Slate asks if Ai Weiwei is being charged as a criminal for committing "economic crimes." The development of such a strange and suspicious charge suggests that Mr. Ai's incarceration by the Chinese Government is intended to be long term. Likewise, international outcry has been increasing daily.

This is brilliant. Tate Modern's "Release Ai Weiwei... on Twitpic
Tate Modern's exterior now reads, "REALEASE AI WEIWEI."

Leung Chi-wo's T-Shirt slogan Ai Lai Wei (Love the Future) for the march since Ai Weiwei's name is banned.

Honk Kong artists to march in support of Ai Weiwei's release. In Particular the slogan "Ai Lai Wei" (Love The Future) shows that Mr. Ai has become a bigger idea and when a man become an idea, holding that man prisoner becomes infinitely more problematic.

Here is the international petition protesting Ai Weiwei's incarceration.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton uses Mr. Ai's situation as a condemnation of a larger crackdown on human rights in China.

Some unsubstantiated reports are circulating that Ai Weiwei has confessed under torture.

Further reports of Ai Weiwei's torture and Anish Kapoor calls for protests.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton gets tough.

Ai Weiwei's wife visits the incarcerated artist in an undisclosed location, says he has "changed."

An an artist projects Ai Weiwei onto the Chinese Consulate in NYC.

I vow to mention Mr. Ai in any article regarding China until he is freed.

Tyler Green reports that China (suspiciously) is demanding a recently acquired Ai Weiwei piece be returned. Looks like the Chinese Government is getting ready for a trail in some sort of kangaroo court.

In the WSJ Terry Teachout blasts museums like The Milwaukee Art Museum (my old hometown haunt) for being complicit with the Chinese Government who cantinues to hold Ai Weiwei.

Tyler Green isn't someone who is easy to shock, but the Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum has done just that, with impressively arrogant statements about the effectiveness of protesting Ai Weiei's now 2 month imprisonment. It is one of the biggest PR blunders ever for a museum director and no it wont go away.

An artist shaves his head as the director of the Milwaukee Art Museum redefines ineffectual with his statements about Ai Weiwei protests.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 03, 2011 at 18:02 | Comments (2)


The Chinese government is a group of paranoid thugs, but part of me feels like Ai Weiwei has been asking for this all along, and it's all part of his performance. Naturally I hope he's OK and everything.

Posted by: Brian Libby [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 4, 2011 12:19 PM

Brian, I think that Ai Weiwei has been consistently asking for his government to respect it's citizens. I don't think that he has ever asked to be imprisoned. Unfortunately, he is not likely "OK and everything". Jeff, I think his art and his dissidence were perfectly in sync. But this is no longer art anymore than it's a game.

Posted by: Joe Bartholomew [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 5, 2011 07:23 PM

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