Artist Ai Weiwei's Studio Torn Down in China

The studio of the outspoken artist has been razed, most likely due to his criticism of the Chinese government.

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has had his Shanghai studio demolished by Chinese officials, most likely due to his politics. According to a New York Times story, Ai was alerted last summer that the building would be torn down but was told the studio would not happen until after the Chinese New Year. He received a call from neighbors that it was being razed early Tuesday.

Ai, who is best known for designing the pattern of the legendary Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Olympics and a recent Tate Modern exhibition that features millions of porcelain sunflower seeds, told The New York Times he believes that his studio was torn down because of his criticism of the Chinese government.

The complex was once supported and encouraged by the government, which approved its construction. Ai designed the studio to occupy an abandoned warehouse, and it served as a centerpiece of urban renewal, eventually housing several other studios as part of a nascent art community in Shanghai. But almost as soon as it was completed, and after Ai became more politically outspoken—including throwing a dinner party to protest the demolition as a thinly-veiled celebration of free speech—the government turned sour on his presence. The building was slated for demolition in July 2010.

There's a lovely photo essay at Foreign Policy, including the photo above, that chronicles the final months of the studio. It includes shots of the dinner party, which Ai himself was not able to attend because he was placed under house arrest in Beijing.

via Michael Belanger / Flickr

The head of the 1,100-member Federal Judges Association on Monday called an emergency meeting amid concerns over President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr's use of the power of the Justice Department for political purposes, such as protecting a long-time friend and confidant of the president.

Keep Reading
via United for Respect / Twitter

Walmart workers issued a "wake up call" to Alice Walton, an heir to the retailer's $500 billion fortune, in New York on Tuesday by marching to Walton's penthouse and demanding her company pay its 1.5 million workers a living wage and give them reliable, stable work schedules.

The protest was partially a response to the company's so-called "Great Workplace" restructuring initiative which Walmart began testing last year and plans to roll out in at least 1,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores by the end of 2020.

Keep Reading
via Rdd dit / YouTube

Two people had the nerve to laugh and smirk at a DUI murder sentencing in Judge Qiana Lillard's courtroom and she took swift action.

Lillard heard giggles coming from the family of Amanda Kosal, 25, who admitted to being drunk when she slammed into an SUV, killing Jerome Zirker, 31, and severely injuring his fiance, Brittany Johnson, 31.

Keep Reading