The big news has arrived.
Here the beginnings of an editorial on the subject. More to come soon, no dout:
“Ai Weiwei in Context”
On the news of the release of Ai Weiwei we all breathe a sigh of relief. Still, its worth noting that this relief is going to be felt more acutely in the West than in any place in China, even by the Chinese artists whose fortunes are most closely tied to Ai’s. To understand this we need to think about Ai’s work in the larger context of contemporary Chinese art, something which news media seem stubbornly disinclined to do. Thorough consideration of such a context not only clarifies understanding of the contemporary Chinese art scene, but is also more in the spirit of Ai Weiwei’s work both as artist and activist than any petition signing, street demonstrations or other political posturing could be.
Further questions to be addressed:
what is the role of global media in this process (both in getting Ai into prison in the first place, and also in getting him released).
what is going on in contemporary Chinese art presently that will go entirely unnoticed because of the barrage of reporting on the Ai case?
In the end, what was accomplished?