Ai Weiwei Update: 05.16.11

Image via the Facebook page Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Forty-three days into his captivity, Ai Weiwei has been allowed to briefly see his wife, Lu Qing, for the first time. The 15-minute, highly monitored visit Sunday didn't yield much information about the conditions of his imprisonment, but he appeared healthy, dispelling rumors that he'd been tortured (to his elderly mother's relief). Lu noted that he wasn't wearing prison clothes and his beard wasn't shaved, suggesting he may be under house arrest instead of in a jail. According to reports, authorities warned Lu about talking the press, lest she worsen Ai's case.

• "I could see redness in his eyes," Lu said of the visit. "It was obvious that without freedom to express himself he was not behaving naturally even with me, someone from his family. He seemed conflicted, contained, his face was tense ... We could not talk about the economic charges or other stuff, mainly about the family and health. We were careful, we knew that the deal could be broken at any moment, so we were careful."

• In a late April interview with CBS, released Friday, Ai's mother pleaded, "Save my son. Save my son. I hear that he's suffering now -- (they're) treating him cruelly and inhumanely." Seventy-eight-year old Gao Ying also said that Ai has no ties to the Jasmine Revolution, Falun Gong or any other groups that have run afoul of the Chinese government. "[H]e was taken because he was protecting the rights of ordinary citizens and speaking for them," she said. "With many things that happened, he just had to speak out -- he said a lot, criticizing the government for not abiding by the rule of law in dealing with certain incidents."

• The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego has just bought two pieces from Ai's "Marble Chairs" series, works that gain resonance the longer Ai is missing (i.e. the longer the artist is absent from his work). This week the museum will host a silent protest: "Beginning at 11 AM on Thursday, May 19 and continuing through 11 AM on Friday, May 20, volunteer participants will occupy two traditionally styled Chinese chairs for one-hour periods. This 24-hour sit-in references Ai Weiwei’s sculpture series, Marble Chair, two of which are currently on view in the Museum’s exhibition, Prospect 2011."

• CNN offers a nice view of Ai's show at Lisson Gallery in London, which includes a clip from an old interview with the artist: "Art is not just decoration. Art is not just items of the collectors' habit. Art is about social change. It's about how we define our time and our culture."

• Had to reread this headline three times: "Ai Arrest Jangles Beijing Art Scene Nerves as Fish Head, Bike Go on Show."

Filmmaker Alison Klayman: "I will appear on The Colbert Report tonight. Tune in to see my first television appearance, hear about my experiences with Weiwei and maybe even speculate about what Weiwei would think about Colbert's portrait recently auctioned at Philips de Pury"

No comments: