links

Morning Links: Chinese Censorship Edition

Ai Weiwei in Bejing last year, after a court rejected his appeal on a tax fine. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

“[Aby] Rosen is something of a Shiva-like figure in the arts world — hailed and pilloried as both preserver and destroyer.”  His latest art controversy concerns the 33-foot-tall “beyond-naked pregnant woman with an exposed fetus” by Damien Hirst that he has plunked down on his lawn in Old Westbury, N.Y. [NYT] Read More

films

Ai Weiwei Will Play Smuggler in ‘Secret’ Sci-Fi Film

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 4.38.42 PM

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei will star in The Sandstorm, a sci-fi short set in a world without water, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Because Mr. Ai remains under close police surveillance, the film was shot surreptitiously. “We told no one what we were up to,” writer and director Jason Wishnow states on the project’s Kickstarter campaign page. “The crew used code names and ever-shifting modes of communication.” Read More

Curators

Francesco Bonami: ‘I Hate Ai Weiwei’

Bonami. (Courtesy PMC)

Over at Artsy Editorial, there’s a really great interview with the Italian-born, New York-based curator Francesco Bonami, who curated the 2003 Venice Biennale, the 2010 Whitney Biennial (with Gary Carrion-Murayari) and the just opened “Maurizio Cattelan: Kaputt” at the Fondation Beyeler, in Basel, Switzerland, where Artsy’s Marina Cashdan caught up with him. It seems like he was in a pretty frank mood! Read More

Venice Biennale 2013

Ai Weiwei Among Four Artists to Represent Germany at Venice Biennale

Ai Weiwei. Still from 'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,' 2012. (Courtesy Aiweiweineversorry.com)

Among the four artists who will represent Germany at the next Venice Biennale is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Indian artist Dayanita Singh, South African artist Santu Mofokeng and French-German artist Romuald Karmakar round out the international team, as announced today by Frankfurt am Main’s Museum für Moderne Kunst. Susanne Gaensheimer, the director of the museum and the curator of the German pavilion, said in the statement that each of the four artists has ties to the art scene in Germany and had worked there for many years. Read More

opinions

Ai Weiwei: ‘I Don’t Believe in the So-Called Olympic Spirit’

Ai Weiwei, 2012 (Courtesy Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages)

On the cusp of the release of the documentary about his life and work, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, the artist and activist Ai Weiwei published a diatribe in The Guardian against the Olympic games. Mr. Ai, who still cannot travel outside the country, explains why he withdrew from participating in the opening ceremony at the Beijing 2008 Olympics (“I only withdrew from participating in fake performances laden with propaganda”), which he says have become commercialized and have strayed from the humanistic motives that initially drove the ancient competition. Read More

public art

Ai Weiwei’s ‘Zodiac Heads’ Go to Princeton

Ai Weiwei, 'Circle Of Animals/Zodiac Heads' at Somerset House in May, 2011 in London. (Courtesy Getty Images)

On the heels of the disappointing—albeit unsurprising—denial of artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s appeal against Beijing tax authorities, there arrives the comparably happy news that his monumental installation, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, will be unveiled at Princeton University on Aug. 1, where it will have a year-long run. The exhibition is sponsored by the Princeton University Art Museum and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, which has invited Mr. Ai to the school to participate in a series of events on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Read More

Film

‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’ Producers Promote Film With Middle-Finger Campaign

Ai Weiwei. From his "Study in Perspective" series taken between 1995 and 2003 (Courtesy Ai Weiwei)

Producers of the film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which documents the life and plight of Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, have launched a campaign across social-networking platforms with the hashtag #RaiseYourFinger to create buzz in anticipation of the film’s release—it opens in New York on July 27. The producers are inviting fans of Mr. Ai to submit photographs of themselves raising their middle-finger “to symbols of injustice.” Read More

television

Sarah Sze and More in Tonight’s Premiere of ‘Art in the 21st Century’ Season 6

Still from 'Art in the 21st Century' (Courtesy PBS)

Tonight, Art in the 21st Century, the Peabody Award-winning television series which profiles 13 artists in four hour-long episodes, premieres on PBS at 9:00 p.m. EST. This season, the show—grouped into the episodes “Change,” “Balance,” “History” and “Boundaries”—will feature performance artist Marina Abramovic, art collective Assume Vivid Astro Focus, known for its carnivalesque installations (like the one it created for a 2008 exhibition at Deitch Projects), abstract artist Lynda Benglis, whose brightly-colored sculptures in poured latex and foam were exhibited at the New Museum last year, outspoken artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei and Sarah Sze who will represent the United States at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Read More