Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai studio has been demolished in a move by the government that took the artist by surprise: Chinese officials had said they wouldn’t act on a demolition warrant issued in June 2010 until after February 3 this year. Read on for our links to the top stories and photos.

The government demolition of Ai Weiwei's Shanghai studio began and ended on Tuesday 11 January, 2011. Image from

The government demolition of Ai Weiwei's Shanghai studio began on Tuesday 11 January, 2011. Image from

Design of the $1 million Shanghai studio began in summer 2008 and construction ended in July this year. The bulldozers rolled in on Tuesday. The artist had planned to use the space for art education purposes and to house an international artist-in-residence programme.

Said The New York Times on Wednesday,

Mr. Ai said that the officials might have moved ahead with their plans so that the destruction would take place without a spotlight. Neighbors of the studio called Mr. Ai’s assistant on Tuesday morning when they heard heavy machinery next door. Mr. Ai said he rushed onto an airplane in Beijing, where he lives, and arrived in time to see four machines and dozens of workers toiling away on the site. About 80 percent of the structures had been destroyed by the afternoon, he said.

Read more news on the demolition of Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai studio:

For images of Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai studio demolition visit:

Watch below or on YouTube a 1:36 teaser from Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a documentary to be released in 2011 on the history of the artist’s Shanghai studio. We see images of the studio during construction and Ai talks about how he became an architect.

Late last year, Ai Weiwei “celebrated” the impending demolition of his Shanghai studio by putting on a banquet in the building, inviting guests to feast on 10,000 river crabs provided by him.

We recently reported on London gallery Lisson’s new representation of the artist and his potentially politically-charged 2011 Taiwan exhibition.


Related Topics: Ai Weiwei, Chinese artists, art spaces

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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