A Tate & Zum Cultured London (and Ai Weiwei…)

A few of us sampled a very cultured London last weekend…

Firstly was a taste of the crypt followed by Zum in St Martin-in-the-Fields.

The music and the venue were very good and had us zumming along nicely to a Thai restaurant to finish the evening. Sorry Liz, I had a good natter with your violin heartthrob! He’s soon to go electric!! Where were you?! 😉

We also had an impromptu meetup at the Tate Modern. Sarah took some convincing that there really were many millions of hand-crafted porcelain sunflower seeds arranged in the turbine hall… Hopefully Ai Weiwei, the bravely outspoken Chinese artist doesn’t get too hard a time from the Chinese authorities…


Nottingham next?…




The Tate Modern posted up in big letters on their building “Free Ai Weiwei” and there was much media noise and a muted political noise. Eventually he has been released:

Details emerge of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s detention

… after more than 80 days held in a secret police detention centre…

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7 Responses to A Tate & Zum Cultured London (and Ai Weiwei…)

  1. Martin L says:

    And the story and artistry continues:

    Chinese artist Ai Weiwei sets up live webcams at home

    Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has set up four live webcams at his home, in a nod to the 24-hour police surveillance he has lived under for the last year.

    Mr Ai was detained in April 2011 during a crackdown on political activists and is now banned from leaving Beijing.

    The artist told the AFP news agency that by installing the cameras – including above his bed – he hoped to encourage transparency from all sides. …

  2. Martin L says:

    Further artistry despite incarceration:

    Ai Weiwei misses opening of his Serpentine summer pavilion

    Ai Weiwei is one third of the creative team which has designed the 12th summer pavilion for London’s Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, but the artist was glaringly absent from its unveiling.

    The 54-year-old artist is still not allowed to leave China following his arrest and detention last year. In lieu of the real thing, the gallery screened a message from Ai…

    …Ai has become a symbol for human rights activists in China since spending 81 days in custody last year – much of it incommunicado – on tax avoidance charges many say are trumped up.

    He is able to work but not yet leave China, and his ordeal has had the opposite effect to which the Chinese authorities wanted, with Time Magazine naming him runner up in their Person of the Year list and Art Review placing him first in its Power 100 list last year.

  3. Martin L says:

    The story continues…

    China artist Ai Weiwei’s tax evasion appeal rejected

    “This country has once again proved to the world that law and justice don’t exist here” said Ai Weiwei on Twitter.

    Outside his door witnesses counted up to 32 police cars.

    His lawyers told the court the police were acting illegally preventing a free man from hearing the verdict in his own case.

    The entire case they say is illegal, from the secret detention of Mr Ai to the fact there’s no real evidence of tax evasion.

    Ai Weiwei’s fame, his adept use of social media, his refusal to stay silent, and his persistent, sometimes impudent, criticisms of the Communist Party’s rule have all made this a litmus test for the way the party deals with dissent.

    But, with the transfer of power to a new generation of leaders looming, China’s huge security apparatus appears determined to put ”stability” and ”harmony” first, and, critics will say, due process second.

  4. Martin L says:

    Ai Weiwei makes his return to the UK via virtual reality orchestrating a new real world exhibition…

    Ai Weiwei creates [real world] Blenheim art show via ‘virtual world’

    The UK’s biggest exhibition of works by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei has been put together at Blenheim Palace with the help of 3D technology.

    Ai, who is restricted from leaving China, helped install more than 50 artworks with a computer model of the stately home in Oxfordshire. “We would have loved for him to be here,” said curator Michael Frahm. [Instead,] “We had the whole palace laser-scanned and created this virtual world that gave him access.”

    Uniquely, Ai’s artworks – spanning some 30 years – are presented alongside the palace’s own artistic treasures, some of which date back hundreds of years…

    … Speaking to the BBC in Beijing, Ai Weiwei said his inability to leave China meant he had to prepare for the exhibition remotely. “I had to study a lot of materials, site plans and most of all the history,” he said. The artist added that his background as an architect came to the fore with his project.

    The Ai Weiwei show is the first major contemporary art exhibition to be presented at Blenheim Palace, which dates back to 1704…

    … Blenheim’s Ai Weiwei show comes at the same time as a major exhibition in Manchester showcasing the work of artists from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

    Harry Liu, editor-in-chief of contemporary art magazine Artzip, which operates in both the UK and China, said some visitors to Blenheim might struggle to understand the political messages in Ai’s work. He also said there was more to Chinese contemporary art than just the work of Ai Weiwei. “People also need to look at the new young generation of artists because they represent more interesting artwork and come from a different political situation.”

    The Blenheim Palace exhibition opens to the public on 1 October.


    Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace

    Opening on 1st October, celebrated Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s largest UK exhibition launches the foundation in ‘Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace’, with more than 50 new and iconic artworks on display throughout the palace and its grounds.

    All a part of the art of politics?…

    • Martin L says:

      Ai Weiwei Art Exhibition – Extended

      The immensely popular contemporary art exhibition ‘Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace’ is now extended until April 2015.

      Following the launch of the new Blenheim Art Foundation in autumn, which brings an exciting new programme of contemporary art by leading international artists to the Palace, celebrated Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s largest UK exhibition, ‘Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace’, is now extended until 30th April 2015. More than 50 artworks on display in the Palace and surrounding Formal Gardens will remain installed, following the exhibition’s success when it opened at Blenheim Palace in October 2014…

      Not to be missed!… Watch out on our events list 😉

  5. Martin L says:

    Continuing in the world news:

    UK visit by Ai Weiwei tripped up by misinformed bureaucracy or stymied by oversensitive politics?

    Ai Weiwei denied six-month UK visa

    … Ai posted a letter on Instagram stating his entry to the UK had been restricted because he failed to declare his “criminal conviction”. But Ai, though detained in China for 81 days in 2011, has never been charged or convicted of a crime in China.

    The artist was granted a 20-day visa to attend the opening of his London show.

    However, it may mean he cannot supervise the installation of the landmark solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts which has a private preview on 15 September…

    … “Mr Ai has been granted a visa for the full duration of his requested dates of travel”.

    Ai’s 20-day visa means he will not be in the UK when China’s President Xi Jinping makes a high-profile state visit in October – potentially avoiding any diplomatic embarrassment at a time when Britain is trying to improve relations with China.

    The BBC has asked the Home Office to clarify what criminal conviction it believes Ai has, but has yet to receive a response…

    All in the name of Art and for people. Something to be seen 🙂

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