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Hanging Man: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei Hardcover – September 17, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

During a 2011 crackdown on dissidents in China, Ai Weiwei, the brilliant and courageous artist and activist who has magnetized a global Internet following, was arrested and held for 81 days. Though forbidden to speak with foreign journalists, he agreed to talk with Martin. They first met in London when Weiwei’s landmark Sunflower Seeds exhibition opened at the Tate. Martin sets the scene with a brisk overview of twentieth-century Chinese history and Weiwei’s family’s banishment to the Gobi Desert after his renowned poet father ran afoul of Mao. He also illuminates Weiwei’s ingenious, often collaborative art; pivotal role in catalyzing China’s contemporary art movement; and daring, innovative activism. In the stunned aftermath of his illegal detention, Weiwei recounts his terrifying and absurd ordeal, during which, handcuffed to a chair, he explained conceptual art to his surprisingly respectful interrogators and sympathized with the impoverished and oppressed young guards. Martin’s vivid and affecting portrait attests both to Weiwei’s now severely restricted circumstances and his undiminished spirit and conviction as an artist of conscience and a resounding champion for freedom and democracy, responsibility and justice. --Donna Seaman

Review

“Martin's vivid and affecting portrait attests both to Weiwei's now severely restricted circumstances and his undiminished spirit and conviction as an artist of conscience and a resounding champion for freedom and democracy, responsibility and justice.” ―Donna Seaman, Booklist

“Engaging and timely . . . Martin takes care to establish the historical, political, and artistic context of Ai's work . . . An excellent introduction to Ai and the power of contemporary Chinese art.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A book that offers great clarity on an important subject without succumbing to oversimplification.” ―Kirkus (starred review)

“[Martin's] fascinating, well-written book has many layers . . . Martin does an excellent job in linking Ai's case to that of other intellectuals and artists, and to the broader issues China faces.” ―Jonathan Fenby, The Times

“Fascinating ... Hanging Man is a com­pelling study of Ai's work and significance.” ―Stuart Kelly, Scotsman

“Martin's passion for the integrity of the artists and writers who pioneered China's artistic renaissance after Mao lifts this account . . . The result is a memorable snapshot of the inspiring figures who remain true to their creative ideals in today's China, despite the official repression of originality.” ―Isabel Hilton, The Guardian

Hanging Man is the most detailed, comprehensive and eloquent English-language account of what happens these days to Chinese political prisoners . . . I want to underline how grateful I am to Martin for eluding Ai's guards and giving the artist an unequalled chance to explain what befell him . . . This is an invaluable book.” ―Jonathan Mirsky, Literary Review

“Barnaby Martin reveals not only the psyche of China's most celebrated artist and dissident, but through him--and through his prism of art--a whole society in crisis.” ―Colin Thubron, author of To a Mountain in Tibet

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374167753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374167752
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,178,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are at all interested in Ai Weiwei, the artist and dissident, you will find this book fascinating. While sharing a series of interview with Ai after his release from interrogation in 2013, he also puts the artist's work in context of the politics and history of Communist China, international human rights, and western and Chinese art influences. A thoroughly absorbing book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
some of the history gets a bit long-winded, but overall the book is worth reading and very good. it's a broad cultural history of China in the 20th century to now mixed in among interviews with the artist about his detainment by Chinese authorities. also some history of the modern art and activist movement in China and the artist's role in these circles.
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By MORILLO on December 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the msot complete portraits of Ai WEiwei, with good background information on his family, friends, helps understand the existence of such an artist.
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