“Ai Weiwei”

Chinese Clients Boost Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Evening Sales

Christie’s postwar and contemporary evening sale, which took place on 16 October 2015 totaled £35.6 million ($55 million), with Chinese bidders boosting the turnover of the evening. Peter Doig’s Cabin Essence (1993-4), sold for the highest price of the evening, fetching £9.6 million ($14.8 million), won by Christie’s deputy chairman of Asia, Xin Li, in a phone bid on behalf of a Chinese client. The work was bought in 1994 for around £10,000 and so has greatly increased its value now, although the result was nevertheless seen as slightly disappointing given the estimate had been around £9 million without premium. Another work which sold to China was Martin Kippenberger’s A celebrity in film, radio, television and police call boxes(1981), which sold within its estimate for £2.4 million, as the artist has become highly-coveted in China. For instance, in 2014, Chinese restaurant mogul Zhang Lan bought Untitled (1988) for $18.6 million at Christie’s “If I live I’ll see you Tuesday” auction in New York. Other notable sales include the six-and-a-half-foot portrait of a fictitious character, Knave, by recent Turner Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, which smashed its estimate of £60,000 estimate to sell for an enormous £446,500. The Ben-Day dot painting of a girl wearing a bikini, Commemoration, also sold well, doubling its estimate, selling for £1.2 million to an Italian phone bidder. Ai Weiwei‘s work sold with little competition, with a Han dynasty vase displaying the Coca-Cola logo being bought by Jens Faurschou for £266,500, below its estimated...

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Ai Weiwei’s zodiac heads at the Phoenix Art Museum

Artist Ai Weiwei is currently holding an exhibition “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads” at the Phoenix Art Museum, in Arizona, the United States, having started on 3 October 2015 and ending 31 January 2016. The exhibition features twelve eighteenth-century Chinese zodiac bronze sculptures. It features two series: a bronze series of larger sculptures for outdoor venues, and a gold series of smaller sculptures for indoor galleries. He was inspired by those that once decorated the Qing dynasty fountain, in an eighteenth-century imperial retreat outside Beijing. Like other ornate objects, the original pieces were looted by the British and French troops in the Second Opium War in 1860. Viewed as a symbol of “cultural theft”, Weiwei re-created the gold-plated sculptures in 2010 as a subversive commentary on the nature of looting and repatriation. Wi Weiwei’s works employ a wide range of media. Most recently the artist, who has been vocally critical of the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and record of human rights violations, had his passport revoked four years ago and it was returned to him on 22 July this year. Now Weiwei has started traveling again and working on upcoming exhibitions....

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Ai Weiwei’s Beijing Studio Bugged

Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and political dissident, has found listening devices in his Beijing studio. He posted photos on Instagram that suggested that bugs had been hidden behind plug sockets, potentially placed there up to four years ago. The artist was arrested in 2011 and held for 81 days without charge or criminal conviction, a move that his supporters believe was in response to his criticism of China’s stance on human rights, democracy and free speech. His passport was held for four years following his release, and his travel ban was only lifted this July (2015). Ai discovered the devices while his studio was undergoing renovation, after having returned from a visit to Europe to see his son in Berlin and to attend the opening of his exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. In his Instagram pictures, Weiwei shows someone setting off firecrackers next to the device with the caption “Can you hear this?” and the other with the caption “There’s always a surprise.” It would seem that the Chinese authorities are still wary of the artist’s political and artistic mouthpiece after...

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Ai Weiwei to be guest editor at Foam Magazine

Ai Weiwei will act as guest editor of Foam Magazine, whose next issue will be released in December 2015. The theme of the issue will be “Freedom of Expression under Surveillance”. Since the controversial artist himself has experienced relentless surveillance by the Chinese government, Weiwei will be the central focus of the magazine. Several projects utilized to keep an eye on the artist, such as webcams and Instagram are focused on, as well as Weiwei’s desire to survey those surveying him. The magazine will have two standpoints, one from the inside, from the artists’ perspective, which explores social life, associates, politics, and the development of artworks. The outside perspective explores confrontation, surveillance, exclusion, and dissidence authority. One of the chapters on surveillance will feature images from Weiwei’s Instagram, an intrinsic and important part of Ai Weiwei’s life. Ai Weiwei was born in 1957 in Beijing, and is a controversial contemporary artist and activist. Known for his critiques of the Chinese government in regards to democracy and human rights, he was arrested in 2011 and held for several months without formal charges. Foam Magazine is an international photography magazine with publications every four months on a pressing issue, featuring portfolios, interviews, and expert...

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Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapor join activists in protest march for refugees

Artists Anish Kapoor and Ai Weiwei have joined together in a protest march for refugees alongside a group of activists in the United Kingdom. The protest, which took place in London and has gone viral on Instagram, is in support of refugees. The march went through the city of London, starting at the Royal Academy of Arts, and covered an area eight miles long. The artists carried grey blankets, which represented the needs of refugees worldwide who are seeking safety throughout Europe. Journalists and other protesters—which were nearly 100 in number, accompanied the two artists. Kapoor said of the march, “This is a walk of compassion, a walk together as if we were walking to the studio… Peaceful. Quiet. Creative… We are […] recognizing that those who leave their country and go on a journey across the water full of danger or who walk hundreds of miles across land are also making a creative act.” The artists plan on having several other protest marches in other cities and countries as a stand of solidarity with the refugees. It is no shock that the two artists, who have been surrounded by controversy of late, have become fast friends. Ai Weiwei himself faced visa issues coming into the UK, following a denial of a six-month visa request. Kapoor’s public sculpture Dirty Corner in Paris has recently been the target of vandalism by a group of...

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