Following on from yesterdays article regarding Ai Weiwei being banned from have bulk LEGO he is now having to set up collection points in different cities after being inundated with offers of donations from supporters.
Ai has accused LEGO of “censorship and discrimination” after it refused his bulk order for bricks for a new exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. LEGO responded by saying it has never sold directly to anyone wanting to use its product to make a political statement.
“In response to the companies’s refusal and the overwhelming public response, Ai Weiwei has now decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and ‘political art’,” said a post on the artist’s Instagram account on Monday.
“Ai Weiwei Studio will announce the project description and collection points in different cities. This is the first phase of the coming projects.” Ai used LEGO last year to create portraits of 175 dissident figures who had been jailed or exiled, from Nelson Mandela to Edward Snowden, on the site of the former Alcatraz prison near San Francisco. He planned a similar work for the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, but a bulk order placed by the museum was rejected by the Danish company.
The Chinese artist said the company told the museum its bricks could not be used for artworks containing “any political, religious, racist, obscene or defaming statements”. LEGO spokesman Roar Rude Trangbaek would not comment directly on the case but said that, as a principle, LEGO “respects any individual’s right to free, creative expression”. The artist also linked the companies stance with plans for a new Legoland in Shanghai, even though that is Merlin not LEGO but hey we don’t let facts get in the way of a good story!
News via Reuters