Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Arse about face

How's this for recognising a difficult problem and coming up with absolutely the wrong solution.

Anish Kapoor is protesting about the treatment of Ai Weiwei, who is being held by the Chinese without trial and has not been seen for some time. A difficult circumstance, to be sure. Kapoor's response?

The Turner Prize-winning artist said that, while some European foreign ministers had voiced concerns, more must be done.

Kapoor has also called on the art world to unite, adding: "Perhaps museums and galleries across the world should be closed for one day."

Right, so to respond to a repressive act by a repressive regime his response is - to stop doing something? Surely, in order to show solidarity with an artist held by the authorities for no good reason, the proper response should not be to prevent the enjoyment of art, but to stimulate it? On a given day, perhaps at a given time, everybody should be encouraged to enter a museum or gallery in support of Ai Weiwei. Surely that's a much more powerful and, above all, positive message?

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