Ai Weiwei on His Favorite Artists, Living in New York and Why the Government is Afraid of Him

The Chinese government has long tried to contain the artist and activist but his ideas have spread overseas and he's got plenty more to say

(Jacqueline Moen)

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To see parents who have great expectations for their kids.

Lately, you’ve won a lot of awards—ArtReview named you the most powerful artist in the world, for instance, What do you think of that?

I haven’t tasted any of that—I’ve stayed in my compound most of time. I’m a criminal suspect in China; With the media control in China, I don’t think most people even know I was part of the Bird’s Nest [Olympic Stadium] design team.

What art or ideas are you working on right now?

I don’t really know. I’m still a criminal suspect of the state, but I have never formally been arrested. I cannot travel; I’m followed every time I go to the park.

But you know what? I’ve never met one person [members of the police] who believed in what they are doing. I’ve been interrogated by over eight people, and they all told me “this is our job”; they only do it because they are afraid. They have a stable government job and they are afraid to lose it. They do not believe anything. But they tell me, “You can never win this war.”


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