Ai Weiwei – Closed due to dust
Well it would seem that Nanny State Britain has struck again.
After only two days of being open to the public, this wonderful piece has been closed to public access due to “ceramic dust”, an apparently vicious killer that up until now, I was happily unaware of.
This kind of negates the whole point of the work. Visitors are now only able to look at the work from behind a barrier. Personally I think this is a cynical move by the Tate to counter their worry that every visitor would steal a couple of the seeds (that’s what I was going to do anyway when I went) thereby reducing the value of their investment. How much would you think Mr Wei Wei got paid for this work: £100K, £200K, £500K maybe? I honestly have no idea, but I doubt that it would be worth half its value if half the seeds disappeared, Art doesn’t work like that. It keeps its intrinsic value regardless
Mind you with over 100 million ceramic seeds (I wrote 10 million in my original post and thought at the time that I must have misheard that figure as too high, but it does now seem to be the astronomically high number of 100 million) it would take a very long time… I also can’t believe that someone as obviously intelligent and considered as Mr. Weiwei didn’t anticipate this. My guess is that by accepting that next time the piece would be exhibited, it would almost certainly be in a considerably smaller space, he just designed in some “automatic demassing”….
But as to the excuse from the Tate, honestly when will people be trusted to take responsibility for their own lives. We walk daily through carbon monoxide soaked streets and smoke and drink and whatever else we want to do to our long suffering bodies. Why can’t we sign a bit of paper saying that if the deadly ceramic dust makes us cough a bit, we won’t hold it against the gallery, then we could enjoy the work as the artist so obviously intended it.