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Chinese authorities demolish Ai Weiwei’s studio

6 August 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Chinese authorities demolish Ai Weiwei’s studio without prior warning | The Beijing studio of artist and activist Ai Weiwei has been destroyed by the Chinese government, reports the BBC. According to Ai’s assistant, Ga Rang, the building’s lease expired last year, however, it ‘wasn’t possible’ to move out in time. He states that there was ‘no warning’ about the planned demolition on Friday. This is one of a series of demolitions in Beijing, where many artist studios are facing evictions due to pressures on property in the city. In 2011, Ai’s former Shanghai studio was also demolished without warning. Later that year, he was arrested and imprisoned for 81 days, before being placed under house arrest by the Chinese government.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art rediscovers ten Picasso works in its collection | Following the renovation of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art’s storage facilities, ten undocumented paintings by Pablo Picasso were identified, reports The Art Newspaper. These findings emerged during preparations for the 2019 exhibition ‘Portrait, Still-Life, Landscape’, curated by Dutch architect Mattijs Visser.

Russia appoints Steven Seagal as a cultural envoy | Russia has appointed American actor Steven Seagal as a ‘special envoy’ to the United States. Announced on the Facebook page of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the unpaid role is to establish a ‘cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges’ between the two nations. In 2013, Seagal described President Vladimir Putin as ‘one of the greatest world leaders’ in an interview with Russia Today. In 2016, the actor was also given Russian citizenship.

Recommended reading | Sam Knight discusses the British heatwave and aerial archaeology in The New Yorker | In the Evening Standard, Melanie McDonagh examines the art of ‘slow looking’ in London art galleries.