|China Blocks Well-Known Artist Ai Weiwei from Boarding Plane to Hong Kong|
A Chinese police officer, right, and a security guard stand outside the entrance to Ai Weiwei's studio in Beijing Sunday, April 3, 2011. China blocked Ai Weiwei, one of its most famous contemporary artists, from taking a flight to Hong Kong on Sunday and police later raided his Beijing studio, the man's assistant said. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan.
By: Alexa Olesen, Associated Press
BEIJING (AP).- China blocked one of its most famous contemporary artists from taking a flight to Hong Kong on Sunday and police later raided his Beijing studio, the man's assistant said.
The artist, Ai Weiwei, is an outspoken government critic and has been barred from going abroad before.
China has launched a massive crackdown on lawyers, writers and activists, arresting and detaining dozens since February when online calls for protests similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa began to circulate. Ai has been keeping an informal tally of those detentions on Twitter, where he has more than 70,000 followers.
The studio assistant, who asked not to be identified by name, said Ai was going through customs at the Beijing Capital International Airport early Sunday when two officials escorted him away, leaving a traveling companion to board the flight alone.
It was not clear whether the 53-year-old artist and architectural designer had been detained or why he was barred from taking the flight, the assistant said. Ai's cellphone could not be reached and airport police refused to comment.
Police later arrived at Ai's studio with a search warrant and took several staff members to a police station for questioning, said the assistant, who was among the group taken by police. A man who answered the phone at the police station said he would check on the case, then hung up the phone. Subsequent calls to the number rang unanswered.
Around two dozen uniformed and plainclothes police could be seen in and around Ai's studio Sunday afternoon. An Associated Press videographer was told by police to stop filming and leave the area.
Ai, an avant-garde artist who recently exhibited at the Tate Modern gallery in London, was stopped from boarding a flight to Seoul in December. That incident came shortly after he had been invited to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, honoring jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Liu is serving an 11-year sentence for subversion.
Ai said at the time that police had blocked him at the boarding gate and showed him a handwritten note that said he could cause damage to national security by leaving.
The son of one of China's most famous modern poets, Ai was courted by the Communist government as a cultural ambassador before his advocacy on behalf of social activists apparently made him a target of Chinese authorities.
Known for his distinctive scraggly beard and stocky frame, Ai was a consultant for the futuristic Bird's Nest stadium at the Beijing Olympics before souring on the event. He was later beaten and detained while attempting to attend the trial of an advocate for victims of the devastating 2008 earthquake in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
Alison Klayman, an American filmmaker who has been working on a documentary about Ai for more than two years, said Beijing police visited Ai's studio three times in the past week, checking the passports and identification of Chinese and foreign assistants working there and some visiting architecture students from Europe.
"The focus seemed to be on the fact that he had foreign employees," Klayman said by telephone from New York.
Associated Press videographers Isolda Morillo and David Wivell contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
April 4, 2011
Dogancay, Ceylan and Orhon Headline Sotheby's Sale of Contemporary Turkish Art
Reconsidering Bouguereau: An Artistic Revolution at Hirschl & Adler Gallery in New York
In an Unusual Incident, Woman Attacks Paul Gauguin Painting at National Gallery in Washington
Giant, 35,000 Pound Yellow Teddy Bear by Artist Urs Fischer to Brighten New York City
Sotheby's HK Spring 2011 Sales of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Totals US$13.8 Million
Images of Passengers Traveling on the Paris Métro by Chris Marker at Peter Blum
Sotheby's To Offer Another Masterpiece by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
One of the World's Most Distinguished and Best-Loved Sculpture Parks, Storm King Art Center, is Now Open
Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria Presents Creative Responses to the Experience of Water
Bonhams to Sell Outstanding Private Collection of Archibald Thorburn Paintings
Chinese Contemporary Primary Market Confidence Indicator Rose Whopping 28% Since September
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Returns Tapestry Room to Its Original Glory and Configuration
Gallery and Historic Houses Unite to Celebrate Great Portraits from Victorian and Edwardian Britain
Vancouver Art Gallery Looks Anew at New Media by Three Remarkable Artists
Corrugated Fountain: A New Sculptural Installation by James Grashow at Allan Stone Gallery
El Greco Masterpiece is a Vision at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Offering of The Ullens Collection Sets A Record for a Single-Owner Sale of Contemporary Chinese Art at Auction
Sculpture Made from Speed Bags & Five Miles of Cable Aims to Be Ultimate Tribute to Muhammad Ali
Film Clips that Established the Reputation of American Artist Bruce Conner at Kunsthalle Zurich
China Blocks Well-Known Artist Ai Weiwei from Boarding Plane to Hong Kong
LACMA Presents First Ever Thematic Exhibition of Renowned American Sculptor David Smith
Seventy-Two Years After the Nazis Arrived, Restored Renaissance Synagogue to Reopen in Poland
Sotheby's Spring 2011 Sales of Two Private Wine Collections Achieve a Combines Total of US$17.5 Million
High Museum Partners with MOCA GA to Host Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Georgia Artists
Classical Art Returns to VMFA: Expanded Gallery Reopens with a New Installation
One Hundred Masterpieces from the Städel Museum at Rome's Palazzo delle Esposizioni
The Herbert Acquires New Works for their Peace and Reconciliation Collection
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Picasso masterpiece becomes the most valuable work ever sold at auction: $179,365,000
2.- Conceptual artist David Ireland's restored home at 500 Capp Street to open in January 2016
3.- After last month's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, century-old Kaiser Library left in ruins
4.- Team of American explorers say pirate Captain Kidd's treasure found off Madagascar
5.- Christoph Buechel's church-cum-mosque causes controversy at Venice Biennale
6.- World's oldest complete example of 10 Commandments on rare display in Israel
7.- Go West: Artists flee exorbitant and over-crowded New York for Los Angeles
8.- All the World's Futures: 56th International Art Exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor opens
9.- Exhibition at Museum of Modern Art explores Yoko Ono's groundbreaking early work
10.- Tsibi Geva presents a new installation for the Israeli pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|