We caught wind of it last week — and were on the scene for one of the rehearsals — but today the “Gangnam Style” parody video organized by and shot at the studio of Anish Kapoor in support of Ai Weiwei (whose own subversive parody of Korean rapper Psy’s viral hit was swiftly suppressed by Chinese censors) has been uploaded to YouTube.
Banners surrounding the dancers in the video pay homage to censored intellectuals and artists from the world over, including Russia’s jailed feminist punk collective Pussy Riot. Like Ai, Kapoor sports handcuffs and a pink shirt for much of the video, and the video includes references to the Chinese artist and activist’s work — including crabs reminiscent of his sculpture “He Xie” and the river crab feast at his about-to-be-demolished Beijing studio that inspired it.
Amnesty International placards and signs are brandished throughout, and the video’s YouTube page links to the organization’s campaign to ensure the safe release of Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese human rights lawyer who has been imprisoned since December 2011.
The clip also includes a montage of the staff of major museums from around the world — including the Whitney, Guggenheim, Hirshhorn, LACMA, New Museum, MoMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the Serpentine Gallery — doing the “Gangnam Style” dance in an expression of mutual support for Ai and all artists’ freedom of expression.
— Benjamin Sutton