The Weiwei Back: Andreas Johnson’s New and Uneventful Ai Weiwei Documentary


Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957). R itual (detail), 2011-2013. From the work S.A.C.R.E.D., 2011‒13.  (Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio. © Ai Weiwei) Detail of ‘Ritual’ (2011–13), by Ai, from ‘S.A.C.R.E.D.’ (2011‒13). (Courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio/© Ai Weiwei)

In 2011, Chinese artist and political whistleblower Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in jail for accusing his homeland’s government of neglecting the traumas of rural residents during 2008’s catastrophic earthquake in the Sichuan region. That same year, ArtReview magazine named Mr. Ai the most powerful person in the art world.

Art enthusiasts, corruption opponents and citizens of the world living above ground heard all about Mr. Ai’s unlawful imprisonment back in 2012 when Alison Klayman released her documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. Since the run of that critically acclaimed film, Mr. Ai’s push against political corruption and the protection of free speech has been heard globally. Ever since the artist was released from custody, the Chinese government has been holding his passport.

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