Home > Asian Art, International, News/Events > CHINESE ARTIST AI WEIWEI DISAPPEARS

CHINESE ARTIST AI WEIWEI DISAPPEARS

Papers around the globe including the NYT and Christian Science Monitor carried the story about the artist, dissident  and social activist Weiwei’s detention at Beijing’s  airport on Sunday and his detention at an undisclosed location.  He is best know for his Olympic “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the Olympic Games.  His cell phone is turned off, his blog was shut down and his wife does not know where he is being held. Weiwei used to send out daily political messages to about  75,000 followers on Twitter.  According to Holland Cotter of the NYT, this May an outdoor sculptural piece by Weiwei, from the “Circle of Animals, Zodiac Heads” is scheduled to be installed at the Pulitzer Fountain outside the Plaza Hotel in New York. The artist is expected to attend the opening. The sculptures were created by Weiwei based on a set of zodiac heads that once adorned a fountain at the Summer Palace, Yuanming Yuan, based on designs by European Jesuits at the court of  Emperor Qianlong at his invitation. The pieces  were carried off by British and French soldiers in the 1860’s.  Christie’s recently offered two of these heads as part of Yves Saint Laurent’s estate and there was an uproar in China about getting all the heads back. Now Weiwei has symbolically placed “his” set of zodiac heads in New York (and later in London and Los Angeles).  Is the artist reconstituting these pieces, advocating repatriation or is he  expressing another opinion? Will Weiwei attend the opening?

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