Ai Weiwei on the Square

Ai Weiwei — artist, blogger, and guy who refuses to shut up — has been posting photos to his new blog. Two examples:

A recent photo of the artist, from Technically difficult
Photo by Ai Weiwei, from Another photo from 15 years ago
There are currently 24 Comments for Ai Weiwei on the Square.

Comments on Ai Weiwei on the Square

uncensored awesomeness.

the man is a national hero

He is obviously a dumb fuck

When they compile the list of "Chinese who made a difference" in a hundred years, this guy will be on it. The current generation of "leaders", not so much...

Ai is a provocateur. But he is more than that; the guy has talent and taste. His installation arts are the rare exception to the general garbage pile of sensationalism and artictic laziness. And the Bird's Nest is not half bad.

Ai likes to pick a fight, and can be childish, as in the fallout with Ms. Cui and some other fellow cultural figures in Beijing. But then some of his fights are quite noble, such as his privately organized investigation into the school building collapse in the 5.12 Sichuan Earthquake.

The guy is a bulldog. He could be an aaasshole, but I suppose many Chinese, incl. the much harassed parents of the dead children, may say that at least he's our aaasshole.

He's a rare Guo Bao: A Chinese guy with ballz


Ai Weiwei has gone from an intellectual who from time to time said something that made sense to a total shabi.

He could have painted his fat belly "Cao" instead of "Fuck". Come on Ai Weiwei, if you care about China that much, the least you can do is to have the courage to say it in Chinese that the Chinese understand.

Or maybe he meant he is a total fuck?

We are all products of fuck -is that what Mr. Ai Weiwei tries to tell us with the two pictures?

"(I)f you care about China that much, the least you can do is to have the courage to say it in Chinese that the Chinese understand."

I doubt there is any metropolitan mainland Chinese above the age of consent and under the age of 35 who doesn't know the meaning of the word "fuck"; it may be the best understood word in the English language in China, second only to "okay" and far, far behind "please" and "thank you" in mainland Chinese use. Look to the Chinese internet sites, or even the English language sites to see mainland Chinese comments littered with "fuck".

I don't think Ai Weiwei's pose and message is intended for farmers in Shaanxi, but for that class of people generally obsessed by the notion that command of English is demonstrated by knowledge of slang and colloquial usage the word "fuck" is basic.

Whatever you think about Ai Weiwei's intellect, politics, or balls, he's hardly being original here. I remember seeing very similar photos a few years ago of a Chinese man (also an artist?) standing much closer and directly in front of Mao's portrait near Meridian Gate. Instead of painting the word "fuck" on his chest, he was giving Mao the finger. There was a second photo of the same man doing the very same thing in front of the White House. Alas, I do not remember where I saw the photos and I cannot find them online.

Who doesn't understand the word anyway, because that's the first English word you learned.


The series of photos you mention was also the work of Ai Weiwei: image, image, article.

Jeremy -

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Ai Weiwei is not unoriginal; he's simply redundant.

Thanks for the link.

the chick in the second photo is pretty hot, but wtf is the point really?

"The point", anonymous, or at least one of the many "points", is the contrast between the personality cult reverence given to Mao, and his effects on modern Chinese life.

But even more specifically, in terms of that fabulous black and white image, it is well known that Mao was fond of virginal, provincial totty.

So in fact the girl's "salute" to Mao is probably the most appropriate thing happening in the photo. Not the guards marching past. Not Mao's airbrushed head. Not the lines and lines of reverential masses.

Just a raunchy upskirt. Exactly what the randy old bastard would probably most enjoy.

I like that old shot. Sexy without being pornographic, irreverent yet arty.

But I think it is verboten to mention Mao's sexual predilections, Shanz.

The man was a saint who never worked a young girl front-to-back in his life.

Well, maybe once or twice...

In the "panty picture" there's perhaps a hint of traditional Chinese shamanism, in which a woman's reproductive organ and all things connected to it is viewed as "unclean" and therefore blessed with some magical, negative power. Hence the irony of its juxtaposition with Mao's portrait, the symbol of a familiar, potent (allegedly), male power.

One only wish the panty had been sufficiently scanty. As was it's almost like a banner or sail of a small boat. Even 1994 could have done better than THAT. Detracts from the effectiveness of the imagery.

Regarding the second image, for the longest time I thought it was just a Zuo Xiao Zu Zhuo (左小祖咒) album cover. I honestly had no idea it was an Ai Weiwei photograph. Thanks for the head's up. Does anyone know where I can find more information about the photograph?

// AjS

Oh, it is the earliest edition of public flash in China, as far as I know, despite not showing any substantial stuff to please us...

I don't get it.
Who is the receiver of this action?
Is it an exclamation?
Should it be followed by the word "this", or "you", or "Nancy Pelosi"?

Interpret the word as an exclamation of exasperation.

The lady in the photo is Mr Ai's wife I was told

He is a thorn in the autocrats' side.

No Art is absolutely "original". Sterile lifeless rubbish is original. Be creative and "Loot the Luvre"!

Certainly he is a courageous asshole who defies the most powerful but oppressive regime on Earth.

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