Statement on Ai WeiWei from AAMD


On April 3, internationally-acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while enroute to Hong Kong and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound.

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 among 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 and artist.

We ask members to use their own social media outlets to give additional voice to the petition.

With Many thanks,

Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation and Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art

Michael Govan, Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Kaywin Feldman, President, Association of Art Museum Directors and Director and President, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Glenn Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Yongwoo Lee, President, The Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Vishakha Desai, President and Melissa Chiu, Vice President of Global Arts, Asia Society

Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern


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To the Honourable Minister Mr. Cai Wu

Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China


To the Honorable Minister Mr. Cai Wu

Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China

Our museums are members of The International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), a non-governmental organization with formal relations with UNESCO. On April 6, CIMAM sent a communiqué calling for the release of Ai Weiwei. Our museums, foundations, and communities of facebook followers and twitter fans support CIMAM's statement: "The detention of artists and activists is not only inconsistent with China's commitment to the fundamental freedoms guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in China's own constitution, it is also inconsistent with the Chinese government's pledge, through the Ministry of Culture, to promote all artistic disciplines and to advance artistic ideas. As organizations that represent modern and contemporary art around the world, such actions and the obscurity surrounding them are diametrically opposed to our values. They are of grave concern and consequence for the well-being of Ai Weiwei and for the artistic community at large, and hinder future collaboration with the Chinese colleagues we welcomed at our recent annual meeting in Shanghai."

Tags: aamd, ai, ai wewei, China, petition, weiwei