- Obama to Central American leaders: I need help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
Art community rallies to Ai Weiwei’s defense
Question of the Day
LONDON (AP) - Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has vanished. But look around, and he seems to be everywhere.
More than a month after one of China’s best-known contemporary artist was arrested while trying to board a flight to Hong Kong, his name, his face and his art have popped up across the globe. China’s communist rulers have steadfastly refused to say where Ai is or who’s holding him, but his colleagues in the international art world say they want to make sure he isn’t wiped off the face of the earth.
“As long as he’s incarcerated, artists and cultural figures will be asking what we can do,” British writer Ekow Eshun, a former director of the country’s Institute for Contemporary Arts, said Wednesday.
In London, Ai Weiwei’s name has appeared at the top of the Tate Modern, one of the U.K.’s most-visited museums. In Paris, a gigantic inflatable plastic amoeba called “Leviathan” has been dedicated to the arrested artist, while academics in Germany have made him a visiting lecturer at Berlin University and awarded him honorary membership of the city’s academy of the arts.
Across the Atlantic, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has praised Ai’s courage, while in Hong Kong his portrait has appeared around the city’s military garrison.
Many of the events _ like two exhibits opening in London and another at Berlin’s neugerreimschneider gallery _ were planned in advance of Ai’s arrest. But they’ve since been turned in to de facto demonstrations of solidarity with the 53-year-old artist, whose work has often ridiculed the ideology of China’s one-party state.
“Where is Ai Weiwei?” asked a stark, two-story-tall banner mounted across the German gallery’s yellow-brick facade last month. The Tate, which recently filled its flagship Turbine Hall with millions of the artist’s tiny porcelain sunflower seeds, placed the words “Release Ai Weiwei” on the side of its glass roof structure.
The two exhibits of the artist’s work in London include one in the capital’s Somerset House, a high-profile venue which hosts the biannual London Fashion Week. The other, at west London’s Lisson Gallery, features a two-story-high black-and-white photograph of the artist staring out from its facade.
In Paris on Monday, British sculptor Anish Kapoor dedicated his latest monumental work to the Chinese artist _ even though he’d never met him.
“He’s a colleague, an artist,” Kapoor told the Guardian newspaper. “In a very simple way, he is heroically recording human existence.”
That spirit of solidarity has been at work in Germany too: Ai was named an honorary member of Berlin’s Academy of Arts over the weekend, something the academy described as a sign of his international importance.
In New York, Bloomberg joined the city’s art community in honoring Ai at Manhattan’s Pulitzer Fountain last week, telling the assembled audience that his fearlessness in the face of official intimidation spoke to “the indomitable desire for freedom that is inside every human being.”
In China, where Ai is thought to be held secretly by state security, activists have also raised their voices. In Hong Kong, which has its own separate legal system, stencils of his likeness have been sprayed around and even laser-projected onto the local army garrison building.
Despite the growing outcry, China has refused to answer question about the artist’s fate.
“This case remains under investigation and those outside people should refrain from comment,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Tuesday. China’s authoritarian government regularly acts to crush dissent, but the Ai’s disappearance has been seen as part of a more far-reaching crackdown that followed the wake of the popular uprisings which have been sweeping the Middle East.
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq