China's Ai Weiwei Gets "Absent" Exhibition in Taiwan

Taipei’s Fine Arts Museum will host a three-month Ai Weiwei exhibit titled “Absent”. From Reuters:

Aptly titled “Absent” due to China’s ban on Ai traveling, the three-month exhibit at Taipei’s Fine Arts Museum will have 21 works on show, including a photograph of a person’s arm making an obscene gesture in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

“The title ‘Absent’ is, I think, an interesting reflection on this exhibition, on Taiwan, on his personal situation, his art and his contribution to the field,” said Chang Fang-wei, acting director of the museum’s exhibition department.

Ai told Reuters he was happy to have a chance to exhibit in Taiwan, even if he could not be there.

“This is the first time I’m having an exhibition of my art works in the wider Chinese world. I’m really happy that it can be exhibited in Taiwan, because recently it has not possible to have an exhibition in my own place of residence,” he said by telephone.

“I have been notified that I won’t be allowed to go — that was the outcome of my application — so right now I cannot attend. But my family members will attend,” Ai added, without elaborating.

Earlier this month, ArtReview magazine ranked Ai Weiwei the “most powerful person in the art world”. From BBC News:

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been named the most powerful person in the art world, according to a poll compiled by ArtReview magazine.

But Mr Ai, who was released in June after being detained for more than 80 days by Chinese authorities, told the BBC he does “not feel powerful at all”.

The magazine said he was chosen by the panel because of his political activism, as much as his artwork.

China criticised the selection saying it was based on “political bias”.

See CDT’s coverage of the accolade.

In addition, Ai Weiwei was also named “Innovator of the Year” in art by WSJ Magazine. From Art Fix Daily:

Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei has seen his star rise higher this month. He led ArtReview’s annual ranking of the 100 most influential people in the art world, the Power 100, and has now been named “Innovator of the Year” in art by WSJ. Magazine.

WSJ. Magazine’s inaugural Innovator of the Year Awards will include a dinner on Oct. 27 “honoring the most creative, disruptive, and influential individuals in the world today,” according to a press release. The celebration, to be held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, coincides with the November issue of WSJ. which hits newsstands on Saturday, Oct. 29, as part of WSJ Weekend.

“Our goal was to determine who is shaping our world in the most creative, groundbreaking ways,” said Editor-in-Chief Deborah Needleman in announcing the awards, “whether it’s something we behold or live in, marvel at, participate in or consume.”

October 28, 2011, 12:43 PM
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