Ai Weiwei arrest affects Groninger Museum

6th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The arrest of Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei has had consequences for the Groninger Museum. One of Ai’s works was meant to be shipped to the Dutch museum, but the delivery has been delayed without explanation.

The artist has not been heard from since his arrest at the Beijing airport Sunday when he attempted to board a flight to Hong Kong. Mr. Ai is one of many activists who have been arrested during the last two months in police actions against dissidents.

“We have purchased one of his works to be shipped to the Netherlands,” said Sue-an van der Zijpp, curator of the Groninger Museum in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide. “But according to a local skipper, the painting’s transportation has been delayed. No reason was given for the delay.”

Police reportedly carried out a search of the artist’s avant-garde studio in Peking. Van der Zijpp described the artwork that the museum will acquire as an installation with wooden chairs. The work is much like one of Ai’s other installations, Grapes.

In February 2008, Ai held a solo exhibition at the Groninger Museum. One of his ceramics, Melons, is currently owned by the museum.

“We consider Ai Weiwei as one of the best artists we’ve ever worked with,” says Van der Zijpp. “It’s really horrible what happened to him. Nobody knows where he is or what his happening to him. We are very worried and hope that he is quickly released.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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