Chinese Officials Demand Ai Weiwei’s Studio Be Demolished, Artist Put Under House Arrest


Like we said last month upon the opening at the Tate of his 100 million painted sunflower exhibition, it’s usually tough to write about something positive in relation to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei without something entirely negative hot on the heels. Never mind that the aforementioned exhibit had to be cordoned off, as it might have been toxic to museum guests, because now that Weiwei is back in China, he’s faced worse once again. No stranger to beatings and detainment by officials of his native nation, he recently received notice that the government has decided that his studio building in Shanghai was constructed illegally and would soon be demolished. Deciding there was nothing he could do but to gather like-minded artists and throw a protest/party before the building went away, the Chinese government put Weiwei under house arrest and have shut down his attempts to hold any sort of gathering. Here’s a bit:

Ai says he began building the studio in the Jiading district of Shanghai two years ago at the invitation of Jiading mayor Sun Jiwei. Apparently under pressure from more senior Shanghai officials angry at Ai’s political activities, however, district authorities last month declared the studio an illegal structure and slated it for demolition, Ai says.

“Since it was going to be knocked down, I thought why not have a party there?” Ai says. “It would have been a beautiful party but it made them very nervous.”