Call for the Release of Ai Weiwei
  • Petitioned Minister Mr. Cai Wu

This petition was delivered to:

Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China
Minister Mr. Cai Wu

Call for the Release of Ai Weiwei

    1. Petition by

      Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

June 2011


In April 2011, internationally acclaimed Chinese artist and vocal critic of the Chinese government Ai Weiwei was arrested on charges of tax evasion. Leading global art institutions - including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and London’s Tate Modern - questioned the charges and started a campaign on demanding the artist’s immediate release. After 80 days in prison and over than 140,000 signatures, Ai Wei Wei was finally set free.

On April 3, internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound. Ai’s whereabouts remain unknown and due process under Chinese law has been denied him.  

We members of the international arts community express our concern for Ai’s freedom and disappointment in China’s reluctance to live up to its promise to nurture creativity and independent thought, the keys to “soft power” and cultural influence. 

Our institutions have some of the largest online museum communities in the world. We have launched this online petition to our collective millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.  By using Ai Weiwei’s favored medium of “social sculpture,” we hope to hasten the release of our visionary friend. 

Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation
and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art
Juan Ignacio Vidarte, Director General, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao,
and Deputy Director and Chief Officer for Global Strategies, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern
Kaywin Feldman, President, Association of Art Museum Directors and Director
and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Yongwoo Lee, President, The Gwangju Biennale Foundation
Michael Govan, Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Vishakha Desai, President and Melissa Chiu, Vice President of Global Arts, Asia Society
Jim Cuno, President and Director, Art Institute of Chicago
Julián Zugazagoitia, Director, Nelson Atkins Museum , Kansas City
Ann Philbin, Director, Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles
Olga Viso, Director, Walker Art Center
Alfred Pacquement, Director, Musée national d'art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Paris
Arnold Lehman, Director, Brooklyn Museum
Jill Medvedow, Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes
and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, London

Poul Erik Tøjner, Director, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Neal Benezra, Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Tony Ellwood, Director, and Suhanya Raffel, Deputy Director, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia
Thomas W. Lentz, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director, Harvard Art Museums
Ann Goldstein, Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Apinan Poshynanda, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director, dOCUMENTA (13) and Bernd Leifeld, CEO, documenta
Manray Hsu, Founding Director, Taipei Contemporary Art Center
Holly Hotchner, Nanette L. Laitman Director, Museum of Arts and Design, New York
Joel Wachs, President, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts,
New York
Christy MacLear, Executive Director, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York
Marcelo Araújo, Executive Director, and Ivo Mesquita, Chief Curator, Pinacoteca de São Paulo



Richard Armstrong  古根汉姆美术馆 馆长, Alexandra Munroe 古根汉姆美术馆 资深策展人
Juan Ignacio Vidarte 古根汉姆美术馆 毕尔巴鄂分馆 馆长 古根汉姆基金会 副会长暨首席国际策略执行官 
Glenn Lowry 纽约当代美术馆 馆长
Sir Nicholas Serota 泰德美术馆  馆长, Chris Dercon 泰德当代美术馆 馆长
Kaywin Feldman 美国博物馆协会暨明尼阿波利斯美术馆 总裁
Yongwoo Lee 光州双年展基金会 总裁 
Michael Govan 洛杉矶美术馆 馆长
Vishakha Desai 亚洲协会  总裁, Melissa Chiu 亚洲协会 全球艺术项目 副总裁
Jim Cuno 芝加哥美术馆 馆长暨总裁
Julián Zugazagoitia 纳尔逊·阿特金斯艺术博物馆 馆长
Ann Philbin 加州大学洛杉矶分校 汉默美术馆 馆长
Olga Viso 沃克艺术中心 执行
Alfred Pacquement 国立现代艺术美术馆 / 巴黎工业设计中心 馆长
Arnold Lehman 布鲁克林美术馆 馆长
Jill Medvedow波士顿当代艺术美术馆 馆长
Julia Peyton-Jones伦敦蛇形画廊 执行
Hans Ulrich Obrist 伦敦蛇形画廊 展览部联合总监暨国际展览项目总监

Poul Erik Tøjner丹麦 路易斯安那现代美术馆 馆长
Nathalie Bondil 蒙特利尔美术馆 馆长暨首席策展人
Neal Benezra  旧金山当代美术馆 馆长
Tony Ellwood 澳大利亚昆士兰美术馆 馆长, Suhanya Raffel 澳大利亚昆士兰美术馆 副馆长
Thomas W. Lentz  哈佛大学美术馆 馆长
Ann Goldstein 阿姆斯特丹市立博物馆  馆长
Apinan Poshynanda泰国曼谷艺术文化中心
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev 第13届卡赛尔文献展 艺术总监, Bernd Leifeld 卡赛尔文献展 首席执行官
徐文瑞 台北当代艺术中心 创始总监
Holly Hotchner 纽约艺术与设计博物馆 馆长
Joel Wachs 纽约安迪沃霍尔视觉艺术基金会 总裁
Christy MacLear 纽约罗伯特劳森伯格基金会执行理事
Marcelo Araújo, 圣保罗州立美术馆  执行理事, Ivo Mesquita, 圣保罗州立美术馆 首席策展人

Recent signatures


    1. Ai’s Manager Thanks His Supporters

      A small but significant part of this international pressure has been the Guggenheim’s petition hosted by the Web site, which has attracted some 140,000 online signatures since it was launched...

    2. Artist Ai Weiwei released on bail, Chinese police say

      Police say they obtained confession over tax evasion charges from activist, who spent more than two months in detention

    3. Protesters allowed inside the Milwaukee Art Museum to hold 'sing in' for justice

    4. AFP has more detail on the State Department addressing the issue of the cyber attack which came after the launch of this petition

    5. The Hill: State Department questioned Chinese official on attack

    6. Visual Arts Guild Tiananmen Commemoration Highlights Modern Rights Defenders like Ai Weiwei

    7. DeCordova Joins Museum Community In Supporting Detained Artist

    8. Dan Keegan responds to Ai Weiwei controversy

    9. A collection of Ai Weiwei's blog entries proves he's much more than a playful dilettante of Chinese art

    10. CNN: Zodiac sculptures display jailed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's vision

    11. The Washington Examiner comments on the duty to speak out about Ai Weiwei

    12. Guardian: China denies Gmail hacking accusations

    13. AFP: US museums walk tightrope after China arrest

    14. Wall Street Journal critiques China policy at Milwaukee Art Museum

    15. A guerrilla street art campaign that begun in Hong Kong has spread to the streets of New York City protesting the political detention of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

    16. Ai Weiwei’s Face Projected onto Chinese Consulate

    17. Ai Weiwei has been charged with tax evasion, 7 weeks after his arrest

    18. Mary Louise Schumacher has written a very interesting article exploring museums' responsibility to speak out and join this petition:

    19. Journalist in China Faces Sacking for Ai Weiwei Editorial

    20. Luise Jury of the Evening Standard encourages everyone concerned about the state of the arts to sign the petition to free Ai Weiwei

    21. Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego to stage 24-hour sit-in to support of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei

    22. Ai Weiwei campaign animation

    23. Watch: the Guggenheim Museum's curator of Asian art, Alexandra Munroe, at the launch of the Ai WeiWei's "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" in New York:

    24. Lisson Gallery unveils ‘missing’ Chinese artist Ai Weiwei exhibition

    25. White House to unveil cyber security proposal


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