On April 3, prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was seized by government agents when he tried to board a plane in Beijing. His charge is unspecified "economic crimes," according to the Chinese government.
Change.org is circulating a petition started by 12 leading figures in the international art world which calls for the Chinese government to free Ai Weiwei. The directors of the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tate Museum, where Ai is currently showing a commissioned installation, are among the supporters of the petition.
"The regime in Beijing has proven largely resistant to pressure from foreign governments," Change.org stated in an email. "But they've made a huge push to raise China's profile in the arts -- the government just finished building the world's largest art museum. Widespread condemnation, led by the arts community, may be our best chance to save his life."
Ai also has a major outdoor installation at Harvard University now on view. "Untitled," consisting of steel cubes covered with 5,335 school backpacks -- one of the artist's responses to the 2008 Sichuan Province earthquake that killed thousands of children in poorly constructed buildings -- was just one of the Ai's projects that irked the Chinese government.
To sign the petition to free Ai Weiwei, please click the link below: