Bird's Neststadium (2008), but soon disassociated himself from the games. His best-known works include the backpacks and text installations (2009) commemorating the children who died in poorly built schools in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the Tate Modern's installation (2010) of millions of porcelain sunflower seeds.
Ai began writing a blog in 2005, which by 2008 had become a venue for political satire and dissidence. In 2009 a severe police beating required emergency surgery the next year he was placed under house arrest. In 2011 the government razed his Shanghai studio and he was arrested, ostensibly for tax evasion, detained secretly and interrogated for 81 days, then had his travel restricted he was not permitted to travel abroad until 2015. His design firm was also fined $2.4 million for tax evasion. In 2012 the government revoked his business license, forcing his architectural firm to close. Ai created six half-scale fiberglass dioramas depicting his detention smuggled out of China, they were exhibited in Venice in 2013. A multimedia exhibition made for Alcatraz (2014–15) focuses on human rights and on prisoners of conscience and features large portraits of prisoners made with small plastic bricks.
See L. Ambrozy, ed., Ai Weiwei's Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006–2009 (2011) and L. Warsh, ed., Weiwei-isms (2012) study by K. Smith et al. (2009) B. Martin, Hanging Man: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei (2013) A. Klayman, dir. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (documentary, 2012).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Asian and Middle Eastern Art: Biographies
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