The artist and activist Ai Weiwei took part in a protest at Munich‘s Haus der Kunst on 14 September in support of employees campaigning to keep their jobs in the face of cost cuts resulting from the museum’s financial woes.
Ai tweeted that the protest secured a promise from Bernhard Spies, the Haus der Kunst business director, that no workers will be laid off. He disputed reports that he had been ejected from the museum because the workers had not notified its management in advance about their protest. Local media reported that Haus der Kunst security personnel had organised the protest, in which Ai was to tear admission tickets and welcome visitors as they entered.
“The fact is no one ever threw me out,” Ai wrote on Twitter. “We left after the end of the protest. NB: I have never been thrown out by anyone and I’m sure there will be a time to come.”
Spies was enlisted to help turn around the Haus der Kunst’s finances in 2018, and cancelled exhibitions planned for last year, including a Joan Jonas show. Ten years ago, Ai’s work was the subject of a major exhibition there, in which he covered the façade with 9,000 backpacks to commemorate the children who perished in the Sichuan earthquake.
Bavarian Culture Minister Bernd Sibler says in a statement that he understands the concerns of Haus der Kunst employees. He expects “all participants to conduct constructive dialogue in the legally proscribed, confidential mediation process that is currently underway,” the statement says.