Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Archive for the tag “Ai WeiWei”

Where’s Ai Weiwei?

The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., has opened the first major North American retrospective devoted to the artwork of dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. While the show — “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” — has received glowing reviews from art critics and visitors alike, the artist himself will probably never get to see it.

“We had always hoped that he would be here for the opening,” explains Kerry Brougher, chief curator at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. “Unfortunately, as we were in the middle of working with Ai Weiwei on the exhibition, he was arrested in China and incarcerated for 81 days.”

Using the show as a backdrop, Reason TV recounts Ai Weiwei’s ongoing efforts to speak out in a country where freedoms are sharply curtailed. Without the benefit of a passport, Weiwei has increasingly turned to the internet to engage the wider world. He has found a receptive audience waiting for him.

Dissident “Gangnam” in China

Ai Weiwei, China’s best-known dissident, has released his own Gangnam Style parody now being parsed to determine its political message. The artist appears dancing at his studio with friends, wearing a pink shirt and brandishing handcuffs — perhaps referring to his jailing earlier this year. Lara Day from the Wall Street Journal discusses the political implications  behind the video and the controversy surrounding it in China, where it was quickly banned by the Chinese government.

The Power of Punk Art

James Panero, American cultural critic and managing editor of The New Criterion, discusses how American punk rock has profoundly influenced protest movements around the world. In an interview with Kennedy from Reason.TV, Panero cites Russia’s Pussy Riot and Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei as having embraced the idioms of punk as well as its defiant anti-authoritarian streak. He believes their art is “having a real effect” as the “conscience of reform” against the authoritarian governments under which they live.

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