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Ai Weiwei's Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009

by Ai Weiwei The MIT Press
Pub Date:
01/2011
ISBN:
9780262015219
Format:
Pbk 336 pages
Price:
AU$34.99 NZ$39.12
Product Status: In Stock Now
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In 2006, even though he could barely type, China’s most famous artist started blogging. For more than three years, Ai Weiwei turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings. He wrote about the Sichuan earthquake (and posted a list of the schoolchildren who died because of the government’s “tofu-dregs engineering”), reminisced about Andy Warhol and the East Village art scene, described the irony of being investigated for “fraud” by the Ministry of Public Security, made a modest proposal for tax collection. Then, on June 1, 2009, Chinese authorities shut down the blog. This book offers a collection of Ai’s notorious online writings translated into English--the most complete, public documentation of the original Chinese blog available in any language.

The New York Times called Ai “a figure of Warholian celebrity.” He is a leading figure on the international art scene, a regular in museums and biennials, but in China he is a manifold and controversial presence: artist, architect, curator, social critic, justice-seeker. He was a consultant on the design of the famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium but called for an Olympic boycott; he received a Chinese Contemporary Art “lifetime achievement award” in 2008 but was beaten by the police in connection with his “citizen investigation” of earthquake casualties in 2009. Ai Weiwei's Blog documents Ai’s passion, his genius, his hubris, his righteous anger, and his vision for China.

In terms of illuminating the dynamics of protest in our understanding of one of global culture's most percipient commentators, this text is highly recommended.

'Alex Ross, THE
Ai Weiwei is one of today's most important and controversial artists. His recent exhibitions include “Sunflower Seeds” at the Tate Modern, London, a vast assemblage of handcrafted porcelain sunflower seeds; and six fiberglass dioramas depicting his 81-day imprisonment in 2011, shown at a Venice gallery in parallel with the 2013 Venice Biennale. He was a designer of the famous “Bird's Nest” stadium of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


Lee Ambrozy is the Editor of artforum.com.cn, Artforum's Chinese language website.