Chinese Authorities Destroy Ai Weiwei’s Studio

The New York Times has reported that the studio belong to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been razed to the ground.

An order to raze the studio — designed by Ai Weiwei, a protean artist who is one of the most outspoken critics of the Chinese Communist Party — was issued last July. Mr. Ai took the move to be retribution for rankling the authorities. He said officials told him that the demolition would not take place until after the first day of the Year of the Rabbit, which falls on Feb. 3.

So he was shocked to discover that workers had begun knocking it down early Tuesday, Mr. Ai said in a telephone interview from Shanghai on Wednesday. Mr. Ai said a neighboring studio he had designed for a friend had also been destroyed.

“Everything is gone,” he said. “It’s all black now. They finished the job at 9 o’clock last night.”

“I called the officials and said, ‘You promised us not to take it down until after New Year’s Day,’ ” Mr. Ai recounted. “They said, ‘If the studio is to be taken down, it doesn’t matter if it’s sooner or later.’ ”

Mr. Ai said that the officials might have moved ahead with their plans so that the destruction would take place without a spotlight. Neighbors of the studio called Mr. Ai’s assistant on Tuesday morning when they heard heavy machinery next door. Mr. Ai said he rushed onto an airplane in Beijing, where he lives, and arrived in time to see four machines and dozens of workers toiling away on the site. About 80 percent of the structures had been destroyed by the afternoon, he said.

Shanghai city officials could not be reached on Wednesday evening for comment.

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  1. Ver says:

    Upsetting bad news.
    And, unbelievably stunning silence on the part of this art community.
    Even if it sounds silly, I can’t help but say I am with you, Mr. Ai.

  2. Cis Bakker says:

    How catastrophic for Mr. Ai WeiWei. I hope he could save some of his works by moving them before the destruction. A nightmare.

  3. haha, it serves him right, the mans a total buffoon…

    • james says:

      art-assassin your an intolerant person,
      regardless of what you think of him and his art,
      he stands up for what he believes in,

      are you?

      my full support to all people who do…

      • James, theres a right and a wrong way to do something. Your artist friend ,Ai Wei Wei, chose the wrong way. Picasso lived under the tyranny of Nazi occupation in Paris for four years and finally joined the triumphant GI’s as they marched victorious into that great city. Spot the difference?

  4. ChasL says:

    Typical anti-China media slant. Check Baidu for the real story:

    – The township that solicited Ai Weiei for the village studio project neglected to arrange for proper building permit.

    – On July 23, 2010, Ai Weiei was notified of lack of permit by Shanghai City, but construction continued.

    – The official initiated the project tried to save the building. They offered to compensate Ai 50% more in exchange for the building to be donated to the village collective, in order to qualify for public project exemption, but Ai refused.

    Should famous people be allowed to ignore the law?

  5. Jorge Mata says:

    Es una vergüenza, lo que ha hecho el gobierno Chino, es como matar mariposas a cañonazos. Como siempre todos los regímenes totalitarios le temen a la belleza , no edulcorada y a la imaginación. Ese bichito que nos hace libres a los hombres y que no se puede apresar. Mi más sentido pésame por la perdida de tu estudio Ai Weiwei . Saludos desde BCN.

  6. In between, they’ll do several dates in the Midwest and both Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada.
    Mad – World is just the latest addition to their original soundtrack offerings.
    If you can afford it I’d advise allying with any City State, especially those closest to you, because they’ll also give you military assistance.


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