Internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s recent arrest prompted a local museum to stand up by sitting down. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego last week had two people at a time sit for hour-long silent stints to protest Weiwei’s imprisonment.
Earlier this month, the museum acquired two of Weiwei’s “Marble Chair” sculptures. The artist, perhaps best known for his direction of the “Bird’s Nest” stadium used in the Beijing Olympics, was detained April 3 in Beijing as he tried to get on a plane to Hong Kong. China last week finally released details about his arrest, saying the artist is being charged with evading taxes, which is unlikely to assuage the international outcry over his sudden, long-unexplained detainment. (LA Times)
Arts blogger Tyler Green interviewed the San Diego museum’s director, Hugh Davies, about the decision to stage the protest and about what a museum’s role can be in drawing attention to such an event:
I keep thinking about what the equivalent would be. I think it would be if our country had put Andy Warhol in jail or if Banksy or Damien Hirst was put in jail. This is the best-known artist in China. So it’s a very troubling move.
Meanwhile, in a Union-Tribune story about the museum’s recently appointed chief curator, Davies says he’ll run the museum for another five to seven years before retiring. He took the director post there in 1983.
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