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Ai Weiwei’s Blog

Found this extremely interesting book Ai Weiwei’s Blog at the Museum of Cycladic Art shop. Initially (for obvious reasons!), I was drawn to the title; then, after reading the synopsis on the back cover, the book appealed to me even more and I bought it. Adding to my excitement I got the artist himself to sign it, since this  was on the opening night of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition in the Cycladic Museum!

Ai Weiwei’s Blog

In 2006, even though he could barely type, China’s most famous artist started blogging. For more than three years, Ai Weiwei turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings. He wrote about the Sichuan earthquake (and posted a list of the schoolchildren who died because of the government’s “tofu-dregs engineering”), reminisced about Andy Warhol and the East Village art scene, described the irony of being investigated for “fraud” by the Ministry of Public Security, made a modest proposal for tax collection. Then, on June 1, 2009, Chinese authorities shut down the blog. This book offers a collection of Ai’s notorious online writings translated into English—the most complete, public documentation of the original Chinese blog available in any language.

The New York Times called Ai “a figure of Warholian celebrity.” He is a leading figure on the international art scene, a regular in museums and biennials, but in China he is a manifold and controversial presence: artist, architect, curator, social critic, justice-seeker. He was a consultant on the design of the famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium but called for an Olympic boycott; he received a Chinese Contemporary Art “lifetime achievement award” in 2008, but was beaten by the police in connection with his “citizen investigation” of earthquake casualties in 2009. Ai Weiwei’s Blog documents Ai’s passion, his genius, his hubris, his righteous anger, and his vision for China.

Overview taken from the MIT Press

 

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