On April 3, internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound.
We members of the international arts community express our concern for Ai’s freedom and disappointment in China’s reluctance to live up to its promise to nurture creativity and independent thought, the keys to “soft power” and cultural influence.
Our institutions have some of the largest online museum communities in the world. We have launched this online petition to our collective millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. By using Ai Weiwei’s favored medium of “social sculpture,” we hope to hasten the release of our visionary friend.
Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Director General, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and Deputy Director and Chief Officer for Global Strategies, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern Kaywin Feldman, President, Association of Art Museum Directors and Director and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts Yongwoo Lee, President, The Gwangju Biennale Foundation Michael Govan, Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Vishakha Desai, President and Melissa Chiu, Vice President of Global Arts, Asia Society Jim Cuno, President and Director, Art Institute of Chicago Julián Zugazagoitia, Director, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City Ann Philbin, Director, Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles Olga Viso, Director, Walker Art Center Alfred Pacquement, Director, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Paris Arnold Lehman, Director, Brooklyn Museum Jill Medvedow, Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, London Poul Erik Tøjner, Director, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Neal Benezra, Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Tony Ellwood, Director, and Suhanya Raffel, Deputy Director, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia Thomas W. Lentz, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums Ann Goldstein, Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam Apinan Poshynanda, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director, dOCUMENTA (13) and Bernd Leifeld, CEO, documenta Manray Hsu, Founding Director, Taipei Contemporary Art Center Holly Hotchner, Nanette L. Laitman Director, Museum of Arts and Design, New York