The Artist Is Absent: Writers Rally at the Brooklyn Museum in Honor of Ai Weiwei

Jennifer Egan at the Ai Weiwei rally.

“It’s an honor,” said a husky-voiced brunette with a purple scarf coiled around her neck, “to be a part of Ai Weiwei’s world.” She handed over a button stamped with the words, “Free Ai Weiwei” and an AW Asia business card that smelled vaguely of a spicy plant from the genus Pogostemon. She was handing out buttons to a crowd of about 200 protestors gathered on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library one evening last week. They had collected at the behest of the Pen American Center and other friends of Mr. Ai, the Chinese artist and dissident whose upcoming exhibition, “According to What?,” will open at the Brooklyn Museum April 18. The artist remains under virtual country-arrest back in China. The government has been holding his passport for 36 months. Read More


Guggenheim Responds to Abu Dhabi Protestors

Protestors take over the museum. (Courtesy Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction via Gothamist)

The Guggenheim has released a brief statement in response to the protest involving banners and bugles that broke out at its Fifth Avenue branch last Saturday. The flashmob style demonstration, a joint effort from artist and activist groups Gulf Labor and Occupy Museums, was targeting the museum’s plans to build a satellite location on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. According to Gulf representatives, the construction is being undertaken by indentured South Asian laborers who are exploited in numerous ways.  Read More


Gallery, Fans Defend Elmgreen & Dragset’s ‘Prada Marfa’ From Texas Department of Transportation [Updated]


Forces are rallying around Elmgreen & Dragset’s Prada Marfa (2005) installation, which was recently deemed illegal by the Texas Department of Transportation. Though TxDOT has yet to announce definite plans to tear down the structure, a faux Prada boutique in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert, a “Save Prada Marfa” Facebook page has attracted nearly 4,000 likes since it appeared on Sept. 20, and Galerie Nicolai Wallner, which represents Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, joined the fray today, sending out an e-mail soliciting support for the project. Read More


Cooper Union Students Protest Tuition Fees


On Monday, 12 students took control of the top floor of the Cooper Union Foundation Building in protest of the school’s decision to start charging tuition for graduate students. Cooper Union announced that it would be charging tuition for the first time in its history last April.  At that time, the school said that it would not charge tuition to the undergraduate class starting classes in September 2013, but the fate of future classes remains uncertain. Read More


‘Occupy Museums’ Protests In Front of MoMA With Jerry Saltz


A man wearing a homemade mask made to look like a quarter was standing in Zuccotti Park amongst the Occupy Wall Street protesters yesterday as the sun was starting to sink behind the skyscrapers. He had a cardboard placard that said: OCCUPY MUSEUMS.

“Five p.m. at MoMA!” he shouted. “We’re gonna occupy the temple of Read More