Eric Gibson takes a strong stand in the Wall Street Journal on the AAMD’s weak position over Ai Weiwei’s detention in China:
Instead the organization took two months to speak out, not addressing the Ai issue until June 10, and then only as part of a press release reporting on the proceedings of its annual conference. And it was no clarion call in defense of the beleagured artist. Instead, buried about halfway down was a terse, two-sentence statement that would have made Neville Chamberlain blush: “First, AAMD maintains the conviction that freedom of expression should be upheld in all societies; Second we believe it is vitally important to continue cultural exchanges, dialogue, and collaboration with China.”
Translation: Pity about Mr. Ai, but the blockbusters must go on.
Lest there remain any question about where Mr. Ai’s plight figures in AAMD’s set of priorities, that statement was third on a list of four news items contained in the release. The first two dealt with—stop the presses—diversity in museums.
He’s right, of course. Then, again, his own corporation has a long history of having accommodated the Chinese government as a strategic necessity.
US Museum Directors to Ai Weiwei: Drop Dead (Wall Street Journal)