October 20, 2012
Video: A Visit with Ai Weiwei
Posted by Evan Osnos
Earlier this year, we invited the artist Ai Weiwei to visit the United States to take part in the New Yorker Festival, held in early October. At the time, the Chinese government had barred Ai from traveling abroad—an unofficial form of punishment for charges of tax evasion, which he and his supporters consider a politically motivated attempt to silence one of China's most outspoken intellectuals. (The artist was detained without charges for eighty-one days in 2011; he has lost his appeals to the tax case.) He expected the travel restrictions to be lifted in June, but they were not; the government has continued to withhold his passport. Unable to travel, he withdrew from the Festival and other events, including the opening of a retrospective of his work at the Hirshhorn Museum, in Washington, D.C. (Peter Schjeldahl reviewed the show in the magazine.) I visited Ai Weiwei at his Beijing studio on October 9th to record this interview about his legal status, his work, and his future.
Video by Miguel Toran and Kristina Budelis