My day is done. I’ve read the one quote that makes me happy, so now I can buckle down to grading. It’s from Ai Weiwei, the artist and dissenter the Chinese government would love to silence.
My definition of art has always been the same. It is about freedom of expression, a new way of communication. It is never about exhibiting in museums or about hanging it on the wall. Art should live in the heart of the people. Ordinary people should have the same ability to understand art as anybody else. I don’t think art is elite or mysterious. I don’t think anybody can separate art from politics. The intention to separate art from politics is itself a very political intention. I definitely know people who are shameless enough to give up basic values. I see this kind of art, and when I see it I feel ashamed. In China they treat art as some form of decoration, a self-indulgence. It is pretending to be art. It looks like art. It sells like art. But it is really a piece of shit.
There’s more about his politics: China keeps trying to control the free expression of the people on the internet by shutting it down. They argue that they’re better than they were in the days of the Cultural Revolution — which is setting the bar rather low, I think — but it’s still a restrictive police state.
I’d argue that the US is better than China, but still, especially considering the record of the last few weeks, is likewise a police state.