Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

AI Weiwei Is Not the Only Brave Artists

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

AI Weiwei Is Not the Only Brave Artists

Article excerpt

It is hard for an American audience to understand the courage of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in standing up to a totalitarian regime. It is equally hard to appreciate his imaginative "artful" cunning in using visual metaphor to critique this government, which forces collectivism at the expense of individual liberty.

Yet he is not the first Chinese artist to do so.

The year 1989 - in addition to the Tiananmen Square protests - saw the opening of "Chinese Avant-Garde Art" at the National Art Gallery Museum in Beijing, curated by Minglu Gao (subsequently a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh and a friend of mine).

The authorities shut down the exhibition just four hours after it opened! It opened about a year later at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to ecstatic reviews. …

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