1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei

Toronto Star report, “1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei, Toronto version” (Facebook photos)

Torontoist, “Scene: Where is Ai Weiwei?

Protest pictures, details and comments posted onto the worldwide 1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei Facebook group. Pix from New York City here, herehere. Pix from Munich here.

NPR, “Art And Consequence: A Talk With China’s Controversial Ai Weiwei

This Sunday, at Chinese embassies all over the world, protesters are planning a global sit-in to protest the detention of the internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Ai was taken into custody by Chinese authorities nearly two weeks ago for what government officials now say are questions about his finances.

The protesters will be bringing chairs to sit on. They aren’t worried about getting tired. The design of the protest is a homage to a piece by Ai that was exhibited in 2007 at Documenta 12, a major arts festival in Kassel, Germany. In the artist’s characteristically subversive style, he challenged the boundaries of art and brought 1,001 late Ming and Qing Dynasty wooden chairs and recruited average Chinese citizens to come to Germany to sit in the carefully arranged chairs.

For the protest, called 1,001 chairs for Ai Weiwei, people are asked to bring a chair and as the The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum puts it, “sit peacefully in front of Chinese embassies and consulates in support of his immediate release. […]

At the time Ai was keeping a blog. Every day, the artist put up as many as six posts and hundreds of photos documenting his life. As we sat at the corner of a long wood table, I put a microphone in front of Ai as he snapped photos of me, which he later posted. Ai, was often under official surveillance. So he was poking fun at authorities.

“They can just read my blog,” he said. […]

What struck me about Ai was his refusal to think about the consequences of what he was doing.

“How can you predict what’s in a dictator’s mind?” he asked. “You know if you really think about them you are already a victim of them.””

NYT, “Arts Group Calls for Worldwide Sit-In for Ai Weiwei

Guardian, “Ai Weiwei arrest protests at Chinese embassies worldwide – Inspired by artist’s installation with 1001 Qing dynasty seats, curator suggests taking chairs into street in silent protest

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