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Hanging Man: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The gripping story of post-Mao China and the harrowing fate of the artist and activist Ai Weiwei

In October 2010, Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds appeared in the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern. In April 2011, he was arrested and held for more than two months in terrible conditions. The most famous living Chinese artist and activist, Weiwei is a figure of extraordinary talent,
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published March 21st 2013)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  172 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Mircalla (#FreePatrickZaki)
interessantissima disamina del mondo artistico cinese e delle contraddizioni in seno al concetto di (libera) espressione,
con un accenno storiografico per chi fosse a digiuno di storia cinese,
lettura scorrevole e il personaggio principale emerge in tutta la sua statura artistica e umana,
se non fosse per l'irritante abitudine di chiamare il protagonista col suo nome e non col cognome,
l'autore sa bene che il nome di famigia è Ai, ma continua a chiamarlo Weiwei manco fosse suo fratello...
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-czech
Ai wei wei - umělec, disident architekt (v roce 2008 spolupracoval s architekty při stavbě olympijského stadionu. Část života strávil i v USA.

Aj Wej-wej vystavil v londýnské galerii Tate Modern instalaci nazvanou Slunečnicová semínka (ručně malovaná, na práci se podílelo přes 1500 lidí), kterých bylo několik milionů a představovala obyvatele Číny. Člověk mohl semínky volně pohazovat, což měla být do jisté míry satira čínské vlády, která se takovým způsobem chová - nebere ohledy na nikoho.
V roce
Kimberly Schlarman
I wish I had a better grasp of modern Chinese history and politics. The first chapter attempts to give some context to Chinese politics and political activism of the past one hundred years but the history given is not chronological and is interspersed with with brief biographical sketches of Ai Weiwei and his father Ai Qing as well as the author’s attempts to get in touch with Ai after his imprisonment. I think a straightforward chronological history would have been more helpful. There are just ...more
Cédric Raskin
Jammer, zo jammer. Dat zo'n grote kunstenaar zo'n belabberd boek verdient. Ai Weiwei heeft een indrukwekkend parcours afgelegd, achter zijn stille baard schuilt enorm veel wijsheid. Met al die wijsheid, levenservaring en intelligente humor kan je een mooi boek schrijven.

Maar Barnaby Martin maakte er een zootje van. Hij springt van de hak op de tak, schetst daarbij wel het bredere kader, maar verliest de lijn van zijn verhaal. Waardoor heel wat verloren gaat - tenzij je zelf een expert bent in d
Derek James Baldwin
I'm not sure I learned much about the art of Ai Weiwei, which I find very interesting and provocative, but I did learn plenty about contemporary China and the uncomfortable position of "the dissident" within it. I doubt a book explicitly on that subject would have caught my attention.

this is definitely worth reading. The central story of Ai Weiwei's arrest is really much like having a version of a play by Samuel Beckett read out to you. Void of meaning, and perhaps it's that emptiness which is
Jul 22, 2013 added it
I wish I could rave about this - instead I've written a detailed account of why I can't, despite its unique contribution (the long interview with Ai Weiwei that is at its heart) as part of a review essay that covers this and Rowan Callick's Party Time for the online Sydney Review of Books. The review isn't up yet but I will blog here when it's published. ...more
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, history
Tedious to read.

Disappointing because it did not keep to the topic. I was interested in learning about modern imprisonment of dissenters in China today because of today's rapidly changing culture. Very little of the book was about his arrest and interrogation. Most was a long, very long, history of cultural change in China from pre-Sun Yatsen China. The information was valuable if you were interested in that. But the title of the book should then have reflected the content.

In addition, the book
Carling Shirley
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was so well written and a couple of times I needed to look up the meaning of a word used. It wasn’t in a pretentious way but in a the-author-loves-language-and-knows-how-to-use it way. The main story is about Ai Weiwei and his arrest and release. But the most interesting parts were about China and how it’s run. I didn’t know much about the government and communist history, so it was fascinating. There were so many things that surprised me. Like the fact that the government limited the ...more
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting artist. But even more interesting was how much, as an American, I do NOT know about Chinese history. While a bit tedious at times, the author does a good job at including critical historical information - without this, there is little context for why Ai Weiwei is such a remarkable man today.
Charissa Ty
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I really liked that one phrase he highlighted, "Writers and artists are like engineers to the soul."

I enjoyed searching for the art mentioned in the book, it's like I had access to a museum at home. ☺️ But the author used too many words I don't think people this day and age use anymore. Was he trying to prove an Orwellian point? Haha.
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: asia, nonfiction, arts
A lot if people liked this book, but me. . . Not so much. I learned a bit, but felt as if it would have made a far superior long-form article instead. I also don't like the author putting them self too much in the telling. Journalistic, like you might read in Rolling Stone. Not bad, don't want to discourage readers, but I didn't love it. ...more
Özge Günaydın
Lütfen okuyun
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tried-and-failed
I admit I didn't finish this and I'm disappointed that I didn't because I know I'm missing a unique story. The historical context-setting was so rambling and disconnected from Ai Weiwei's interview. It was necessary to set the stage for the artist's reality, but jeez, it was so dull. The author tried to interject the artist's story with the history of communist China, I assume to make that part of the book less of a history lesson, but I think he failed. And because I was so bored and confused b ...more
Cliff Chew
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I saw Ai Weiwei, and I decided I needed some read on contemporary art. The book was not bad. Some parts that focused on China's contemporary history was a bit dry, but on hindsight, the dryness was definitely needed. The context was pretty important.

The parts that I enjoyed the most were the parts on his artworks, his political activist views, and in lesser parts, his weird days in captive. It's a strange insight into the China, but to be fair, the author did warn his readers that for such a to
Jenny Won garcia
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a fascinating read about modern-day China and the difficult lives of artists and other dissidents. Ai Wei Wei is a complicated person. At times egotistical and other times, vulnerable. I read this book and then watched the video called Ai Wei Wei, Never Sorry. Seeing the artist and hearing his voice and his interactions with his mother, wife and girlfriend was eye-opening.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it helped deepen my understanding of contemporary Chinese history, and of contemporary art, and then allowed me to draw conclusions about what it really means to practice the latter in today's China. Profound. I do really respect Ai Weiwei so much after reading this... Not to mention the author, who had the courage to capture the story. ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martin does an outstanding job of placing the art, activism and persecution of Ai Weiwei into the broader context of Chinese history since the Cultural Revolution. Recommended for anyone who wants to learn about the artistic influences on Weiwei's work, or the role played by the Chinese Communist Party in controlling dissidents. Weiwei comes across as a perceptive, charming man with some surprising insights into the goals and limits of Chinese State power. Highly recommended. ...more
Caner Demircan
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çinin yakın tarihi hakkında bilgiler öğrenirken modern sanatın ve alışılmışın dışında eserlerin Amerika'da ve Çin'de ne gibi tepkilerle karşılandığını anlatıyor. Weiwei'in başından geçenleri maalesef çok fazla yadırgamadan okuyorsunuz. ...more
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was such an excellent view into Chinese political and cultural history. Beautifully written.
Katie Taylor
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book I've read for ages... Insightful ...more
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
An interesting account of Ai Weiwei's thinking about art and politics which provides an excellent historical context - very accessible! ...more
Virginia Bryant
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
great opportunity to learn more about this articulate and brave artist, and china too
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reminded me of Ian Baruma's "Murder in Amsterdam". A window into the modern state apparatus in China, through the lens of Ai Weiwei's experience. ...more
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: discussion
Fascinating book about censorship and the life of an artist in China
rated it it was amazing
Mar 05, 2019
Jan Válek
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Jan 31, 2016
Elyce Feliz
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Nov 19, 2015
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Sep 29, 2019
Jirka Rygl
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Jun 29, 2016
Beyza Gönen
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Aug 05, 2017
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