Spotlight Artist: Ai Weiwei
Art Code: Art take Courage
Political Art Topic: Censorship
Ai Weiwei (Chinese: 艾未未; pinyin: Ài Wèiwèi, English pronunciation (help·info); born 28 August 1957 in Beijing) is a Chinese contemporary artistand activist. His father's (Ai Qing) original surname was written Jiang (蔣). Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-dreg schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of "economic crimes".
Work often deals with government surveillance or criticism of the government
Often functions as a facilitator of the art, not necessarily making work by hand.
What does it mean when we say, "Art takes courage?"
What role does censorship play in the history of art? Contemporary art?
Would you be willing to suffer persecution for making your art?
How important is it for an individual artist to make the actual artwork?
Is Western art inherently different from Eastern art in the past? What about now?