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Entries in Never Sorry (1)

Tuesday
Sep182012

Ai Weiwei

photo from PDX Window Project

"You cant just say the system is flawed. You have to work through it to refine your critique."

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said that, and it seems to sum up the best thing a contemporary artist can do for our world right now.

Art does not come from street fairs or home decor stores or gossamer reflections on disposable income.

Art means sitting at the public health office to apply for health care, knowing you will be rejected due to volume. It means getting a pink slip for no real reason. It means asking the big elephant-in-the-room question when the floor is open and everyone is supposed to sit quietly for three seconds and adjourn like little mice.

It means the only thing you should expect for your pains are goods non-exclusive (like roads) and non-transferable (like freedom of anything).

Contemporary art means doing what the system says in order to point out the nonsense of it. It means never giving up and never providing any excuse for what they already planned to do with people like you in the first place.

Ai Weiwei's life is that kind of art—a personal activism he will die for.

He and his work are featured in an excellent documentary film in theaters now called "Never Sorry."