OTHERING AND THE LOGIC OF DISSENT

Ai Weiwei on the International Stage

Otillia Steadman

ABSTRACT


This paper traces the Chinese artist and political dissident Ai WeiWei's (艾未未) work and outspoken criticism of the Chinese government in order to examine the contradictory tactics that often arise as a result of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) attempts to manage the pressures of global markets while maintaining a firm grasp on information. I argue that the globalized interconnections and prestige of operating within the contemporary art world have provided Ai with a powerful platform for his political activism. In doing so, I suggest viewing the art world as an important locality for understanding the interactions of global and local forces as China rises to prominence and world leadership.

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