• On Twitter, Artnews speculates that Change.org, which is hosting the Guggenheim Foundation's Free Ai Weiwei petition, has been hit by a Denial of Service Attack from China. At last count, there were more than 92,000 signatures. Can anyone confirm? Update: Change.org CEO Ben Rattray emails to confirm that Chinese hackers have targeted the site with a DDOS attack.
• Charlie Finch calls for an artworld boycott of China:
...Chinese Foreign Ministry press briefings have mocked Western concerns and laughably held up the United States as oppressive of human rights in contrast to ChiCom self-righteousness. The first thing to remember when considering how to ultimately bring down the ChiComs [Chinese Communists] is that this suppression is totalitarian in its essence: complete, pitiless, uncompromising and unpersuadable by traditional liberal appeals. In arguing with well-meaning Western actors who advocate "engagement," one must respond that there is no fundamental difference between ChiCom police tactics and those of Nazi brown-shirts or Stalinist police in previous eras. Therefore, in the art world, for example, continued activity in China by major auction houses or Western galleries must cease immediately and it is incumbent on artists and collectors who care about what is happening in China to insist on this, refraining from doing business with these players until they withdraw from China.• Gao Ge, Ai's older sister, says, "Weiwei is doomed to be 'exposed' as a public enemy of unforgivable sins. (People) will know that when they look back at the 'crimes' of his father in 1958 and 1966. We're fully aware the authorities will not easily let him go, they must work out more crimes beyond the 'economic crimes.'"
• The kind of critique only Tyler Green can deliver: "[T]he Smithsonian and the Hirshhorn, which have an Ai show scheduled for 2012, have made a particular point of highlighting the injustice of Ai’s detention. Oh, wait, nevermind: I just realized neither has said an official word — let alone anything more — about Ai. You’d think the museum complex charged with telling the American story to the world would have the moral high ground when it comes to supporting an artist speaking truth to power. Oh, wait, nevermind again."
• The Guardian: "Liu Xiaoyuan, who has defended China's leading artist in the past, has reappeared in Beijing after a five-day disappearance."
• Disconnect du jour: At the preview of The Age of Enlightenment exhibition in Beijing earlier this month "hundreds of uniformed and plainclothes police and paramilitaries stood guard and watched for dissent, as the state continued its harshest crackdown in years on critics, including democrats, lawyers, writers and artists." “This is why the exhibition is so important: Precisely because of this,” said Martin Roth, director of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, one of the participating museums.
• LACMA just bought an Ai sculpture worth $2.7 million, the LA Times reports.The 2006 spherical sculpture "pays homage to traditional Chinese woodworking through its use of huanghuali (a type of rosewood) and its mortise-and-tenon construction."