Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing is currently being torn down, according to a series of videos the artist has posted on Instagram.

Bulldozers can be seen ripping out the windows of the studio – which he describes as ‘a East German style socialist factory building’ – in the city’s Caochangdi Art District. The building has served as the artist and political activist’s main Chinese studio since 2006.

It’s the second of Ai Weiwei’s studios to be demolished by Chinese authorities: his purpose-built Shanghai space was bulldozed in 2011, the year he was arrested and detained for 81 days by the Chinese government.

Today’s demolition – done ‘with no precaution’, according to the artist – follows a series of eviction notices given to galleries and artists in the Caochangdi Art District, which Weiwei was instrumental in building. De Sarthe and X Gallery are among four galleries told last month that they need to move.


A post shared by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

‘At the moment, there are only rumours about how the area will be redeveloped,’ de Sarthe director Willem Molesworth explained to The Art Newspaper in July.

Ai Weiwei designed many of the galleries and living quarters in the area, which, until 2000, was just a village on the outskirts of Beijing.

In August 2017, ArtAsiaPacific reported that authorities had forced artists from their homes and studios in Caochangdi. The residents were reportedly given written notices telling them to leave the site due to ‘illegal construction and land use’ on more than six acres.

Read next: Ai Weiwei builds fences across New York



Share Tweet

Privacy Preference Center

Required Cookies & Technologies

Some of the technologies we use are necessary for critical functions like security and site integrity, account authentication, security and privacy preferences, internal site usage and maintenance data, and to make the site work correctly for browsing and transactions.

gdpr, woocommerce_cart_hash, woocommerce_items_in_cart, _wp_wocommerce_session, sucuri_cloudproxy_uuid_*

Site Customisation

Cookies and similar technologies are used to improve your experience, to do things like:

- remember your login, general, and regional preferences
- personalize content, search, recommendations, and offers

Without these technologies, things like personalised recommendations, your account preferences, or localisation may not work correctly.


Personalised Advertising

These technologies are used for things like:

- personalised ads
- to limit how many times you see an ad
- to understand usage via Google Analytics
- to understand how you got to our web properties
- to ensure that we understand the audience and can provide relevant ads

We do this with social media, marketing, and analytics partners (who may have their own information they’ve collected). Saying no will not stop you from seeing our ads, but it may make them less relevant or more repetitive.

_ga, _gid, gat,_gads,_fbp