Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Desert of Forbidden Art

I have another political art rebel in my sights (PBS is on a roll, apparently). This one is about Igor Savitsky, who smuggled something in the ballpark of 40,000 pieces of art away from Soviet-era censors in Uzbekistan. He rescued these paintings and other works of art from being destroyed, though they are still not in the clear even with the communists out of power. 

"The irony is that the art Savitsky saved — beginning with traditional Uzbek folk art and textiles and blossoming to comprise art by ethnic Russian avant-garde artists — was at the time under fire for not being Soviet enough. Now it seems, 20 years after Uzbekistan won its independence — it is being targeted by the new regime for not being Uzbek enough."

Desert of Forbidden Art Museum Threatened in Uzbekistan

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ai Weiwei- China's Political Artist

 You probably don't know the name, but Ai Weiwei was one of the designers of the Bird's Nest stadium for the  2008 Summer Olympics. He's kind of a big deal. He's also very outspoken about the Chinese government.

From this NY Times Article:

"In April 2011,  Mr. Ai was detained by the authorities at Beijing International Airport just before he was to board a plane for Hong Kong. He was taken to a secret detention center on the city’s outskirts and spent the next 81 days watched round the clock by rotating pairs of young soldiers. He was released in June of 2011" but has continued to be subjected to beatings, harrassment, fines, and has had his passport taken away. He is not allowed to leave the country and is constantly watched.

I found the following interview question really interesting:

Q. The movie shows you approaching state security surveillance agents assigned to tail you and trying to talk with them. Why do that?

A. I always think we have nothing to hide, so I want them to know that. Normally people, when they are being followed, are being intimidated or they are scared. So I always say: “If you are looking for me, we can sit down to talk. You can even come to my office, I’ll just give you a table. You’ll see whoever I see, and if I travel, I will name you as my assistant, so whoever I meet, you will also meet. So tell your boss that this is an opportunity to get a close look at this very dangerous guy named as a subversive of state power.

PBS and Alison Klayman recently made a video that looks closely into his life and how an outspoken dissident survives in modern China. You can watch it at the link below:
Never Sorry

Also, this is him