Ai Weiwei Update: 06.16.11

• Video: AFP on how Ai Weiwei's detention -- now 74 days and counting -- has sparked creative protest in Hong Kong (including the artwork pictured above).

• Sculptor Anish Kapoor -- who's been outspoken about China's detention of Ai Weiwei and dedicated his new work, Leviathan, to the Chinese artist -- says he's backing out of plans to present his work at the National Museum of China in Beijing in protest.

• Of the British Council–organized "UK Now" project to take place in 12 Chinese cities, in which Kapoor's work was to be shown, The Telegraph's Peter Foster writes, "How comfortable will it be for senior figures in the British arts and political establishment to be hobnobbing with the Communist Party’s cultural tsars when Ai, China’s most internationally famous artist, still languishes in jail – as its reasonable to presume he will be?"

• Ai's imprisonment got "virtually no official acknowledgment" at one of the art world's biggest soirees, the Venice Biennale. Writes Jon Wiener:
Perhaps the most striking thing about all this is the absence of any recognition of Ai Weiwei’s imprisonment on the part of the officials of the Biennale, especially curator Brice Curiger. Ai Weiwei was mentioned only once at an official event: at the first day opening of the preview, Paolo Baratta, president of the Biennale, told reporters, “We are great friends with the Chinese.” Then came a pause that implied “but,” followed by “I have written a letter to the ambassador of China in Italy saying how wonderful it would be if we could have happy news about Ai Weiwei.” And that was it for Ai WeiWei at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
• Architizer looks at the sanctuary Ai designed for pilgrims on Mexico's Ruta del Pelegrino. (Via Curbed.)

Activists hold a sing-in at the Milwaukee Art Museum, a museum slammed for long remaining neutral about Ai's detention while showing an exhibition of work presented collaboratively with Chinese authorities. (Via MJS.)

• The State Department's Dan Baer has discussed the denial of service attack by Chinese hackers on Change.org's Ai Weiwei petition (an attack first confirmed by Eyeteeth). Baer "raised the case of Change.org directly" with China's foreign ministry in April, and the "Department will continue to press China on the importance of an open and unrestricted Internet," according to letter from Change.org to Rep. Rosa DeLauro.

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