Anish Kapoor Boycotts ‘UK Now’ Show in China Over Ai Weiwei’s Detainment

Anish Kapoor, one of the first artists involved in speaking out against Ai Weiwei‘s ongoing detainment by Chinese authorities, has put his money where his mouth is this week, as The Art Newspaper reports that he’s “canceled plans to present his sculptures at the National Museum of China in Beijing.” Kapoor had been invited by the British Council, an organization that develops “high-quality events and link thousands of artists, cultural leaders and arts institutions in more than 100 countries, drawing them into a closer relationship with the UK” for a planned exhibition next year in China’s capital city called “UK Now.” While Kapoor dropping out in protest likely won’t put an end to the event, it surely isn’t the sort of initial press neither the Chinese government, nor the Council, would prefer. Here’s a bit more:

Kapoor has been outspoken in his criticism of the Chinese government’s treatment of Ai Weiwei, since his detention on 3 April. On 10 May, when he opened his Leviathan installation at the Grand Palais in Paris, he dedicated it to the Chinese artist, describing his detention as “barbaric”. Once Kapoor had spoken out, it was realised that his participation in the “UK Now” festival would be difficult. A British Council spokeswoman stressed that the exhibition proposal had been at “a very early stage, and until he had seen the space we could not have proceeded”.