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.”
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!
Art in America‘s Brian Boucher just revealed that dealer and Duchamp expert Francis Naumann recently taught Ai Weiwei how to play chess at his Beijing studio, and Mr. Boucher has the photo to prove it.
Sort of hard to believe that the ever-wily, strategy-minded Mr. Ai didn’t know how to play chess before, right?
Venice Biennale 2013
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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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The International Association of Art Critics’ United States chapter announced yesterday the 24 winners of its 2011 awards. The New York Times first reported the news. Voted on by the 400 members of the organization, the citations are made for first and second place in 12 different categories, with three categories specially addressing New York, which were decided as follows: