Tags: ai weiwei | lego | censor

Ai Weiwei: Lego's Politically Correct Bricks Censoring Him

Image: Ai Weiwei: Lego's Politically Correct Bricks Censoring Him
Chinese activist-artist Ai Weiwei.  (Getty Images / Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 10:22 AM

Chinese activist-artist Ai Weiwei charged toy maker Lego with censorship for refusing to sell him plastic bricks he needs for his newest artwork.

In an Instagram posted Friday, Ai complained that Lego turned down a bulk order for the Lego bricks because the toy maker "cannot approve the use of Legos for political works."

Ai's note on social media came after Merlin Entertainment announced it will open a Legoland park in Shanghai in conjunction with a Chinese partner, noted The Guardian.

"As a commercial entity, Lego produces and sells toys, movies and amusement parks attracting children across the globe," Ai said on Instagram, according to Sky News. "As a powerful corporation, Lego is an influential cultural and political actor in the globalized economy with questionable values. Lego's refusal to sell its product to the artist is an act of censorship and discrimination."

Ai wanted to use the Legos for an Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei exhibition which is due to open in December at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. He has used Legos before to make mosaics of people, including Edward Snowden and Nelson Mandela.

Lego said it has never sold its iconic brick pieces directly to anyone wanting to use its product to make a political statement, said BBC News.

Ai has been swamped with offers from supporters to help him collect the Lego pieces needed.

Ai was arrested during a 2011 crackdown on political activists and held for 81 days with no charges being filed. Ai's passport was just returned this year.

Jonathan Jones of The Guardian said he isn't buying Ai's claim that Lego is censoring him.

"This gutsy and noble man risks looking silly by claiming to be 'censored' by Lego," said Jones. "He is playing a game, pandering to people in the west who love the idea that corporate behavior in the democratic world is as bad as the actions of the Chinese state. He, of all people, has to know that is untrue."


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Chinese activist-artist Ai Weiwei charged toy maker Lego with censorship for refusing to sell him plastic bricks he needs for his newest artwork.
ai weiwei, lego, censor
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2015-22-27
Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 10:22 AM
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