Noble and Ignoble — Ai Weiwei: Wonderful dissident, terrible artist. By Jed Perl

《新共和》杂志去年三月换了东家近期改版。改版后第一期有篇著名艺术评论家 Jed Perl 论艾未未的文章值得关注: “Noble and Ignoble — Ai Weiwei: Wonderful dissident, terrible artist”,推荐阅读——

Although Ai is a darling of journalists and editorialists around the world, his work may be a little overly explicit for some connoisseurs of late modernism or postmodernism, better suited to Art and America and The New York Times than to the pages of October. I suspect that many museum professionals in Europe and the United States who have supported Ai’s projects also regard him with a slight condescension, as something of an artistic naïf, albeit an extraordinarily self-possessed naïf. …

The trouble with most critiques of political art is that they pay too much attention to the politics. This is not to say that an artist’s politics do not matter; not at all. But the great challenge today, at least for those who find themselves in a museum wanting to take full advantage of what an art museum has to offer, is how deeply the artist is exploring the means that are available. Therein lies artistic freedom. As an artist, Ai Weiwei remains imprisoned, unable to speak in the language of forms, which is the only language an artist can really know. A novelist might make something exciting out of Ai’s predicament. But Ai, as I say, is not a character in a novel. He is a man who makes works of art. They are bone-chillingly cold, the thoughts or attitudes of a great political dissident who remains untouched by even a spark of the imaginative fire.

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