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Wednesday 06.22.11

« get your art distributed | Main | Rebel Life: Wes Lang's "A Head Full of Dead" »

Ai Weiwei is free!


Apparently Ai Weiwei is now free on bail. The LA Times also has a report and an up to date photo. The official story is he confessed to tax evasion but that seems dubious.

Being a fan of Mr. Ai who had an exhibition in Portland last year at MOCC, PORT has followed the story from the beginning. Honestly, all we could do is hope to keep up any pressure we could and I'm glad Ai Weiwei has been freed and perhaps this is a good thing for China (sadly, it doesn't effect the art world much other than provide a moral rallying post and hasn't freed other captives).

Ultimately, the Chinese Government overreacted to the toppling of dictatorial governments in the Middle East and rounded up many lawyer, activists and dissidents of whom Mr. Ai was the most prominent. Soon it was apparent that all Chinese cultural exports were going to be tainted by this very serious political farce and Im glad they found a way to back out of a situation that was embarrassingly petty for such a great nation. I love China, have considered myself a bit of a quasi-confuscianist for over two decades and Ai Weiwei was a pretty moderate reformer that through their actions has suddenly turned into the most important Chinese artist in perhaps the last 500-1000 years.

It remains to be seen what psychological damage this trumped up incarceration over taxes has done? Andy Warhol was never quite as open and public after he was shot. Then again Nelson Mandela eventually became President of South Africa and I suppose certain Chinese officials hope Mr. Ai will find a way to lose the new found respect this incident has granted him. Will there be a civil trial and or a fine? Why can't Mr. Ai speak about his incarceration (probably the others being still held). Such outcomes only play into Weiwei's Duchampian-activist M.O.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 22, 2011 at 13:00 | Comments (0)


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