Then, Klayman says, "June 22 came and went, and they gave him a piece of paper that said, 'Congratulations, your bail conditions are up.' But he still does not have his passport back. And he's living under this cloud of uncertainty." A week after my conversation with Klayman, news broke that Ai had lost his appeal in the tax-evasion case, which was based on allegations Klayman called "unsubstantiated." A $2.4 million fine was upheld, which Ai said he would continue to appeal. In the film, Ai likens himself to a chess player "waiting for my opponent to make the next move." Given China's continued aggressive play against him, at what point might the artist forfeit the game? What if he were to manage to get his passport back? Is he committed to staying in China, or would he get out while he could?

"I hope that he still has that choice. I feel like there's uncertainty about his ability to leave or his ability to come back," Klayman says carefully. "But I think his goal is still to remain based in Beijing as a Chinese citizen." She notes that Ai's critiques of China have a potency and a relevance coming from a resident that they might lose were he to become an expatriate.

"But it may get impossible for him to create and to be himself in a total way," she acknowledges.

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8 comments
101Div
101Div

wei wei can deliver my tso chicken any time

Williamsburgartist
Williamsburgartist

He's getting his street cred. When he parachutes out of China, he's gonna be be rich with the sale of his art.

Binkconn
Binkconn

Ai Weiwei, like Louis CK, is a mediocre talent with a fabulous publicist. The Chinese detain thousands of people a year; it's just spun so that Ai's cheap theatrics and ancient pottery smashing are somehow viewed as a threat to the government, which he really isn't. Once some Syrian activist gains notice NY will find another cocktail party darling and move on.

Profwithmouthstofeed
Profwithmouthstofeed

Maybe NYU or Columbia can offer Ai a Professorship so we can financially support him and pay for his housing and offer a food subsidy. This will be a political coup to have another dissident on America's payroll.

ILPS9000
ILPS9000

 @BinkconnReally? You compare him to Louis C.K., easily one of the most intelligant comedians of this or any generation, and claim them both to be frauds? Sorry, you are so far off the mark. Both C.K. and Ai are geniuses in their respecative avocations, no doubt about it. I'm guessing you are just blind to real talent and are more concerned with your OWN traipsings around the cocktail party circuit. Me, I don't go to those and don't let their opinions affect mine, unlike you. Go back to your drinkiepoos, dahling...

 

RoboCop
RoboCop

 @Binkconn In the bad old days of China, the Chinese would have just ended his life and his body dumped in the ocean. No forensics. The CCP now tolerate dissidents and allow them to complain.

Binkconn
Binkconn

 @ILPS9000

I don't go to cocktail parties, moron; I was obviously commenting on a lifestyle other than my own, but this is obviously too great a concept for you. And Who are you kidding? Louie CK just turns a camera on the pointless, shapeless, everyday life of a New York schlub and everyone falls all over themselves in praise. Just get on the critics lemming train, ILPS, you'll be perfectly at home there.

ILPS9000
ILPS9000

Binkconn...

 

Seems to me that someone who mentions and then complains so much about not going to cocktail parties, must be going. I'm guessing you've heard the phrase "methinks doth protest too much"? But that's besides the point.

 

If anyone is on a lemming train, it would seem to be you. These days, as soon as any artist gets well-known enough to the general public, there is a backlash about that artist. Taking you at your word, you may not actually like either Ai or C.K., but have joined the 'backlash' lemming train nonetheless.

 

I was a fan of both early on (no brag, just fact), before Ai was arrested by the Chinese government, and before C.K.'s current show. I, for one, am not falling over anyone, and they're not falling over me either, as I don't tend to associate with hangers-on, nor let critics make choices for me. The critics seem to think that "Wilfred", which is on just before "Louie" on FX is great. I think it's an immense pile of worthless steaming excrement (as was its Australian version). No trains would likely ever let me on.

 

So what is wrong about C.K. turning a "camera on the pointless, shapeless, everyday life of a New York schlub"? Which one of those attributes is your problem? The pointlessness? Probably 90% of sitcoms are pointless in their depictions of everyday life. The word cookie-cutter comes to mind. Is it because he's a schlub? The schlub is a traditional character in American comedy going back to (at least) vaudeville. Is that the problem? You'd prefer Louis to NOT play Louie as a version of himself. Perhaps you'd prefer him as a Wall Street banker? I must say I am quite surprised that "Louie" is up for so many awards, as the majority of the TV industry is filled with imbeciles of the highest order.

 

As for Ai, it's nice to know that you are with the Chinese government in your dislike for him - I'll bet you're proud of that! Maybe you just hate us (and him) for our freedoms...

 

P.S.: You're reading this at least 5 hours later than I wrote this because Livefyre is a fucked-up commenting system...

 

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