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Biggest show by Ai Weiwei to open in Berlin without him

The biggest-ever exhibition by China's best known and boldest contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei, opens in Berlin Thursday with his signature brand of politically explosive works given pride of place. The show at Berlin's Martin Gropius Bau museum comes one week after a landmark state visit to Germany by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Its 18 rooms of mainly new installations pack a stinging critique of official corruption, political repression and capitalist excess in the world's most populous country.

Ai Weiwei supporters pressure Berlin for passport's return

BERLIN (Reuters) - German supporters of Ai Weiwei, one of China's most famous political dissidents, urged Berlin on Wednesday to demand the return of the artist's passport before an exhibition of politically-charged works in Germany's capital. The exhibition, scheduled to open in Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau on April 3, falls exactly three years after Ai's arrest and detention by Chinese authorities in 2011.

Miami museum visitor accused of breaking $1 million Ai WeiWei vase

By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Miami police have arrested a man who they say smashed a $1 million vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei to protest that the city's newly opened museum is only displaying international art. Dominican-born Maximo Caminero, 51, was arrested and charged on Sunday charged with criminal mischief after picking up one of the 16 brightly painted vases at the Perez Art Museum Miami and throwing it to the ground when confronted by security, according to a police report.

Ai Weiwei sends defiant message to China at Sweden film fest

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sent a defiant message to the authorities in Beijing on Tuesday in an opening address to the Stockholm Film Festival where he is on the jury -- but in spirit only. The 56-year-old avant-garde artist, who is not allowed to leave China, is represented at the festival by an empty chair that he designed himself in an ironic reference to his inability to attend. "I feel sorry I can't come. That's why I have designed and sent something symbolic," he said in a pre-recorded video message broadcast at a press conference.

Ai Weiwei sends defiant message to China at Sweden film fest

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sent a defiant message to the authorities in Beijing on Tuesday in an opening address to the Stockholm Film Festival where he is on the jury -- but in spirit only. The 56-year-old avant-garde artist, who is not allowed to leave China, is represented at the festival by an empty chair that he designed himself in an ironic reference to his inability to attend. "I feel sorry I can't come. That's why I have designed and sent something symbolic," he said in a pre-recorded video message broadcast at a press conference.

Empty chair to represent China's Ai Weiwei at Sweden film fest

When the Stockholm Film Festival opens Wednesday, the jury will include world-famous Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei -- in spirit only, represented by an empty chair he designed himself. The 56-year-old Ai, who is not allowed to leave China, was deliberately chosen for the film fest, whose theme this year is "freedom", even though he was never likely to attend. "I feel very good about being part of the jury because for me it's always important to get involved," he told AFP by telephone.

China artist Liu Xiaodong goes local in London for first UK show

By Paul Casciato and Minnie Brookfield LONDON (Reuters) - One of China's best known artists, Liu Xiaodong, headed down to the pub for inspiration for his first London show. The soft-spoken, bespectacled 50-year-old artist has spent the last three decades capturing the lives of ordinary people in his paintings, painted-over photographs, diaries and films from China to Europe and the Middle East.

Driver who killed China protester released early

A truck driver jailed for crushing a Chinese village chief to death in a case that inspired a film by dissident artist Ai Weiwei has been released early, media said Tuesday. The death of Qian Yunhui, 53, raised suspicions that he had been murdered for campaigning over land seizures in the eastern province of Zhejiang, and the Global Times said that local residents had "suspected foul play". Fei Liangyu was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in February 2011.

Ai Weiwei shocks in Venice with scenes of prison life

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei tells the story of his 2011 incarceration with an installation of six large rusty metal boxes in the nave of a Venetian church at the Biennale art festival. In the Baroque surroundings of St Antonino -- a short walk from St Mark's Square -- the unusual display encourages visitors to peer inside the mysterious boxes to see what might be inside. Like a twisted doll house turned into a Chinese prison, the sculptures are scenes from his detention with the artist shown going about his daily tasks with two guards present all the time.

China artist Ai Weiwei releases 'Dumbass'

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei released a foul-mouthed heavy rock song titled "Dumbass" on Wednesday, with a video parodying his months in police detention. The video accompanying the song, posted online, shows Ai under interrogation, marking a document with a red thumbprint, and wearing a black hood labelled "Criminal", before being scrutinised by guards in a prison shower.
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