munich

Ai Weiwei, Template, 2007, wooden doors and windows from destroyed Ming- and Qing-dynasty houses (1368–1911), 13' 10“ x 36' 3 1⁄2” x 28' 8 1⁄2".

Ai Weiwei

Haus der Kunst

Ai Weiwei, Template, 2007, wooden doors and windows from destroyed Ming- and Qing-dynasty houses (1368–1911), 13' 10“ x 36' 3 1⁄2” x 28' 8 1⁄2".

AS AI WEIWEI CAN TELL YOU, the Chinese government, whenever it feels unduly criticized, has a tendency to protest that the critic is “hurting the feelings of the people.” Ai’s mega-exhibition at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, titled “So Sorry,” was a fearless, if sometimes grandiose, rejoinder to this feeble remonstrance—more or less the equivalent of the artist’s infamous art-world motto, “Fuck off.” That this spectacular exhibition, which was timed to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, took place in what was once Hitler’s official museum of German art underscores the passion of Ai’s personal insurgency against what he regards as the moral corruption of the Chinese Communist Party.

By now many will know that in August of last year, police broke into the artist’s hotel room in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, at 3 am, arrested him (

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