Citizen artist Ai Weiwei (part 1)

“Without freedom of speech there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.”

The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who is perhaps still best known for his “bird’s nest” Olympic stadium in Peking, has a retrospective exhibition devoted to dozens of his works at the Hirshhorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. His detention and persecution by the government of Communist China has meant not attending the opening of this, his first major North American show, which is entitled “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” (The title’s question echoes that of a painting by Jasper Johns.) The Ai show will run at the Hirshhorn in Washington from October 2012 through February 2013, and then tour Indianapolis, New York, Toronto, and Miami.

Among the Hirshhorn’s Ai installations is China Log, a “map” of China 63 inches high, fashioned from ironwood that was salvaged from destroyed temples

Ai has told Reuters news service that on top of various accumulated charges and accusations levelled at him by the Chinese government, he could not now travel because he is “suspected of other crimes” including pornography, bigamy and illicit exchange of foreign currency. Ai said police produced a Web photograph that the artist had taken in 2010, that showed him sitting next to four women. All five in the group were completely disrobed for a studio pose. Police told Ai that a file of the photograph had been opened online more than a thousand times, and that meant he was spreading pornography, they said. Ai explained that the four women had posted the photograph “as a joke”.

“We never even touched each other,” the artist added. “It’s nothing. Nobody will say that’s pornography. I asked them why this is pornography. They said under our policy, if there’s nudity, if people try to open a file many times, like over a thousand times, that’s pornography. They have a law like that, which is ridiculous.” [See Hyperallergic link below.]

Ai Weiwei, self-portrait of the artist with Howl poet Allen Ginsberg, Lower East Side, New York, 1988 [Ernst Museum, Budapest]


In Chinese, Weiwei means something like “double negative” – a name that can have double or even triple meanings. Of himself, Ai Weiwei says he is always a critic, but always a collaborator. Ai Weiwei takes a socio-political stand through his art.

                                                                          – Deutsche Welle


On Sina Weibo and Twitter, they used the hashtags #艾裸裸 and #爱裸裸, both pronounced Ai Luo Luo. It’s a play on words with Ai Weiwei’s name and can mean something like “Love getting naked.” Predictably, the hashtag on Twitter was quickly flooded (or “polluted,” in Chinese parlance) by spam messages from the 50 Cent Party, a paid army of pro-Party internet commentators, to make it difficult to locate images.

.                                                        – Hyperallergic (Brooklyn)

“‘Love the future’ is a coded reference to Chinese artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei (艾未未) that began to be used after Ai’s disappearance in early 2011. Ai’s surname sounds the same as the word ‘love’ in Chinese, and his given name ‘Weiwei’ can be converted into the word “future” by adding two small strokes to the second character.”

                                                                 – The Atlantic Wire

艾未未紀錄片:公平 : Ai Weiwei : Without Fear or Favour (a B.B.C. Scotland film)









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