PLEDGE NOW
Artist And Dissident Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous living artist and most creative political dissident joins us from Beijing for a rare appearance in American media.

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei listens as his lawyer announces over a speakerphone the verdict of Ai's lawsuit against the Beijing tax authorities in Beijing Friday, July 20, 2012. A Beijing court on Friday rejected an appeal by Ai against a more than $2 million fine for tax evasion, which he says is part of an intimidation campaign to stop him from criticizing the government. (AP)

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei listens as his lawyer announces over a speakerphone the verdict of Ai’s lawsuit against the Beijing tax authorities in Beijing Friday, July 20, 2012. A Beijing court on Friday rejected an appeal by Ai against a more than $2 million fine for tax evasion, which he says is part of an intimidation campaign to stop him from criticizing the government. (AP)

Biggest global artist out of China:  Ai Weiwei. Biggest artist provocateur dissident in China:  Ai Weiwei.  Our guest today:  Ai Weiwei.

He’s the irrepressible bearded bear of a gadfly out of Beijing with a twinkle in his eye and the conscience of an ancient nation on his mind.  On Time Magazine’s short list for Person of the Year, right behind winner Barack Obama.

A conceptual artist who’s no stranger to police beatings and imprisonment.  To the wrath of the China’s Communist Party.

This hour, On Point:  live from Beijing, China’s Ai Weiwei.  He’s with us.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist and political dissident. (@aiww, @aiwwenglish)

Evan Osnos, China correspondent for the New Yorker. (@eosnos)

From Tom’s Reading List

New Yorker “At the age of fifty-three, Ai has a capacious belly, close-cropped hair, a meaty, expressive face, and a black-and-white beard that stretches to his chest. The full picture is imposing, until he reveals a sly and whimsical sense of humor. “His beard is his makeup,” his brother, Ai Dan, told me.”

New York Times ” Given that a fair proportion of the millions of people who have watched the irresistibly catchy, irrepressibly cheesy YouTube music video“Gangnam Style,” by the South Korean singer Psy, have felt compelled to produce their own version, it’s possibly no surprise that the artist Anish Kapoor has followed suit, even if one doesn’t exactly think of him as the sort of person to be dancing around on YouTube.”

Foreign Policy “The artist, dissident, and provocateur Ai Weiwei has been prohibited from leaving China since last April, when police held him in an isolation cell for 81 days. Passing the time was “impossible,” he told me in an interview last year. “I really wished someone could beat me. Because at least that’s human contact. Then you can see some anger. But to dismiss emotion, to be cut off from any reason, or anger, or fear, psychologically that’s very threatening.””

Video

Check out this recent video of Ai Weiwei doing “Gangnam Style.”

Photos

Here’s a gallery of photos of Ai Weiwei’s art.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 12, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to the cheering crowd at his primary night rally Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Trump and Sanders take New Hampshire. Ferguson under fire from the Justice Department. A rocky week on Wall Street. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 12, 2016
Overcast sky surrounds a man as he rests beneath the art sculpture 'Cupid’s Span' Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at Rincon Park in San Francisco. The Bay area has endured unsettled, rainy weather for a week. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Love in the digital age. Romance, sex and expectations in a time of Tinder, Bumble and OKCupid.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 11, 2016
A sampling of same of the great books author David Denby thinks could help encourage young readers to love books. (National Post)

David Denby on the 24 great books that can bring even today’s kids to reading. And maybe you, too.

 
Feb 11, 2016
In this Oct. 21, 2013, file photo, Vern Lund, president of Liberty Mine in central Mississippi near DeKalb, Miss., holds some of the lignite coal planned for use in the nearby Mississippi Power Co. carbon capture power plant. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

The Supreme Court hits the brakes on the heart of President Obama’s push to fight global warming. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #9: Remedy Or Replica?
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

Jack Beatty offers one last note from New Hampshire, and looks beyond to the primary races yet to come in both parties.

More »
Comment
 
Tom Ashbrook’s Note From New Hampshire
Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016

Fresh off the New Hampshire Presidential Primary results, host Tom Ashbrook reflects on his trip to New Hampshire, and on what comes next in the race to the White House.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #6: Bernie v. Hillary — The Electability Debate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Bill and Betty are not real New Hampshire voters. But their arguments about the Democratic race for President most certainly are.

More »
Comment