Ai Weiwei and global citizens against Lego

Jan 13, 2015 Update: BBC News (audio interview), “Lego changes bulk buy policy after Ai Weiwei backlash

NYT, “Lego Changes Policy After Ai Weiwei Controversy

TorStar, “Ai Weiwei praises Lego’s change of heart on bulk orders for political art


Dec 10, 2015 Update: Guardian report, “Ai Weiwei interview: ‘In human history, there’s never been a moment like this’


(for the record. the begining) aiww In September Lego refused Ai Weiwei Studio’s request for a bulk order of Legos to create artwork to be shown at the National Gallery of Victoria as “they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works.” On Oct 21, a British firm formally announced that it will open a new Legoland in Shanghai as one of the many deals of the U.K.-China “Golden Era.”

aiww “Everything is awesome”

"Everything is awesome "

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Quoting WSJ [emphasis added],

“Lego’s refusal to sell its iconic toy blocks in bulk to Ai Weiwei for an installation in Australia has raised the question of how the controversial Chinese artist managed to get his hands on 1.2 million Lego bricks last time around.

Mr. Ai used Legos last year to construct the portraits of 176 prisoners of conscience from China and around the world. The portraits were displayed on San Francisco Bay’s Alcatraz Island, the site of the former notorious prison.

The group that sponsored that project told China Real Time that it had obtained the blocks directly from Lego through bulk orders — the same method that Mr. Ai used in his latest request, which Lego turned down. Lego did not immediately reply Tuesday to a request for comment.”

(inserting Lego outside Beijing studio)

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aiww The Lego Container of NGV

The Lego Container of NGV

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Slate which makes a good observation,

“For Ai, Instagram isn’t just a venue for distributing his latest photographs; it’s a medium in its own right. Likewise, Twitter is a way of orchestrating his followers, not simply communicating with them. More than almost any other prominent artist, Ai takes social media as his basic form of expression.  “The Internet is like my canvas,” he told the New York Times. Social media, by extension, would be his brush.

Perl points to Ai’s 2007 Fairytale, describing it as a “quintessential work of social engagement involved bringing to Kassel 1,001 Chinese citizens who under normal circumstances had little or no chance of ever leaving the country to spend some time in Germany.” Though it lacks a title, Ai’s Lego protest feels no less deliberate—and no less productively ambiguous. As with Fairytale, it’s not entirely clear what we’re supposed to take from this project, especially when he retweets messages of skeptical condescension side by side with those of uncritical support.

All of this suggests the troubling, and arguably charming, possibility that we’re already part of Ai’s work and world. Every tweet, every article—even this one, no doubt—is another brick, one more piece in a portrait still emerging.”

(video of Weiwei’s son) shh…… 不让卖….

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aiww The Brooklyn Museum will be the collection point in New York for LEGO donations. Starting 10/29, drop-in deliveries will be accepted in a BMW vehicle located in front of the main entrance to the museum during open hours. Postal donations can be sent by mail to the museum at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238.

2015/10/28 Guardian, “Victorians turn out to back Ai Weiwei on free speech, one Lego brick at a time ‘He’s going to have to build something massive,’ says Wolfgang Maltby, seven, as he joins others at the National Gallery of Victoria to donate his toys to the artist who was refused a bulk order of Lego for a free-speech artwork

2015/10/27 The Atlantic, Ai Weiwei Versus Lego Fans have been mailing the dissident artist boxes of toy bricks after the company declined to participate in ‘political works.’

2015/10/27 CNet, “Donate your Lego for art: Ai Weiwei fills cars with Lego bricks in protest Dissident artist Ai Weiwei has taken his battle with Lego to the next level, calling on people across the world to donate their unused Lego bricks in the name of “freedom of speech.”


2015/12/03 Update: Unrelated.

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Mr. Uli Sigg is the donor of the awesome M+ Sigg Collection.

A Swiss Champion for the Art of a Rapidly Changing China” By BARBARA POLLACKAUG. 15, 2005, NYT


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