Journalists gather around artist Ai Weiwei outside his home on Wednesday after his return from detention in Beijing.
It took two months and not-so-subtle protests from within and beyond the art world, but on Wednesday the Chinese government freed 54-year-old artist Ai Weiwei from prison, hinting at tax issues and not artistic dissent as the reason behind his stint in lockup. Authorities praised Ai’s “good attitude in confessing his crimes” as a contributing factor in his release. —KA
Los Angeles Times:
Whereas dozens of others have been arrested over the last six months in a crackdown on activists, it was Ai — by dint of his stature in the art world — who inspired petitions and demonstrations across the world. In London, the Tate Modern gallery installed large black letters across its facade reading, “Free Ai Weiwei.” In New York, a Cuban artist used a slide projector at night to cast the artist’s face onto the Chinese Consulate.