Something has gone terribly wrong when artistic destruction is associated with a humanitarian ethos.
The 'accepted rebels' at the Venice Biennale
Just how much artistic freedom does China allow?
Ai Weiwei: Wonderful dissident, terrible artist
You'd think Ai Weiwei's persecution by the Chinese government would mean no critic would want to rip his work. You'd be wrong.
“Chinese law is a big joke.” So says Ai Weiwei, China’s premier artist, in Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a documentary which was released late last month. In recent years, Ai has been the most prominent critic of his government’s repression and lack of transparency.
The time has come to return to the vexatious relationship between art and politics, which was both catnip and quicksand for thinking people during much of the twentieth century. China’s ever-higher profile as global arbiter of matters artistic—commissioning major work from international architectural stars; giving the nod to a booming market in contemporary Chinese art; and all the while drastically restricting the freedom of artists and writers—leaves us honor bound to explore the tangled old alliances and misalliances between artistic power and political power.
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is a very brave man. Long before April 3, when he was taken into police custody by the Chinese authorities in Beijing as he attempted to board a flight for Hong Kong, he knew that his vigorous support for human rights in China put him on a collision course with the government. He was badly beaten by the police in 2009, his blog was shut down that same year, and in 2010 his new studio in Shanghai was bulldozed by authorities.
In memory of Farah Ebrahimi. Times are indeed a-changing: Bob Dylan, who became an American icon by “speaking truth to power,” just gave a concert in China, one of the most repressive countries in the world. While there, Dylan not only failed to express solidarity with the Chinese dissidents in jail; according to The Washington Post, he also agreed to perform only “approved content.” The scenario becomes even more ironic when you consider that, while Bob Dylan sang “Love Sick” in mainland China, outgoing U.S.