Sculptor Daniel Buren Latest to Boycott Chinese Exhibitions Over Ai Weiwei Detainment

Following Anish Kapoor‘s lead last week, another major figure in the art community has stood by their still-detained fellow artist, Ai Weiwei, by canceling an exhibition in Beijing. This time around, it’s French sculptor Daniel Buren, best known for his columns outside the Palais Royal in Paris. The artist was set to exhibit at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in the Chinese city’s popular 798 gallery district starting in mid-July, but has now pulled out in a move of solidarity and protest. Citing his involvement with the petition movement used to try and free the imprisoned Weiwei, Buren told the Associated Press:

If I carried on without doing anything, it would be a mistake that I would regret for the rest of my life. When freedom of expression is flouted in a country, what value can be given to the works of artists who are still allowed to express themselves? That compromises our own work.

Meanwhile, the Tate Modern has paid their respects to Weiwei by finding a new home for the installation he had there last fall, Sunflower Seeds. Those few pre-detainment controversies over the million, hand-painted seeds piece now seem quite quaint, but it was perhaps Weiwei’s most talked about recent piece of work before he disappeared at the hands of Chinese authorities. The Tate has gathered up 10 tons of the piece (1/10th of its full weight) and assembled the seeds into a “five-metre wide conical form” on display on the museum’s third floor.