Munich (dpa) - Ai Weiwei as a ticket taker: With a solidarity campaign, the Chinese artist has campaigned for the endangered employees of the Munich House of Art.
The museum management criticized the controversial and unannounced action and asked Ai to leave the showrooms. The day after defended the artist and denied a sack.
The 62-year-old had surfaced on Friday without knowledge of the museum management in the House of Art and had demolished, among other things, the tickets of the visitors. The manager of the house, Bernhard Spies, confronted Ai and discussed with him the outsourcing of the employees. Several media witnessed the conversation and published videos and photos of the action.
Ai told the German Press Agency on Saturday that the staff of the Haus der Kunst had previously invited him to help them to keep their jobs. He criticized the museum management for buying expensive works of art for exhibitions, "while people are being paid on low pay."
The House of Art had disapproved of the artist's invitation and action. The house was grossly injured, it was said. However, the employees were not threatened with any consequences: "The management remains committed to ensuring that the restructuring process is as socially acceptable as possible while preserving as many jobs as possible and without sacrificing income."
The house has had turbulent times, partly because of massive money problems. The proximity of employees to Scientology and cases of sexual harassment also made headlines. The Supervisory Board responded with dismissals and put the then director Okwui Enwezor, who has since died, a commercial director at the side. A team of five international art experts is looking for a new artistic direction.
The Green Bundestag member Margaret Bause called the "sacking" Ais from the House of Art an "incredible disgust". "What a provincial phenomenon," wrote the politician on Twitter and blamed the Bavarian state government. The House of Art belongs to the Free State. "The planned dismissals must be withdrawn," she demanded. Bause was for many years Group leader of the Greens in Bavaria and today belongs to the Human Rights Committee in the Bundestag.
The Haus der Kunst does not have its own collection, but collects the works of art for exhibitions. Under the National Socialists, the museum was built as the "House of German Art" and opened in 1937 by Adolf Hitler himself. Until the end of the Second World War, the annual "Great German Art Exhibition" took place there, propagating the understanding of National Socialism. In recent years, the House of Art has increasingly dealt with the processing of its history and presents mainly international, contemporary artists. About ten years ago, the highlight was the exhibition of none other than: Ai Weiwei.
House of Art
Photo on the Ai Weiwei Instragram account