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Anish Kapoor calls for Ai Weiwei protest

Sculptor wants museums and galleries to shut for a day over detained Chinese artist and dedicates Paris commission to him

The sculptor Anish Kapoor has called on the world's museums and galleries to close for a day in protest at the Chinese government's continued detention of the artist Ai Weiwei.

Ai was arrested by the Chinese police on 3 April in Beijing as he was about to board a flight for Hong Kong.

The 53-year-old artist has been accused of "suspected economic crimes" by the government and has not been seen or heard from since his arrest.

Kapoor – who has dedicated his installation at the Monumenta exhibition, which opens on Wednesday at Paris's Grand Palais, to Ai – told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that artists needed to look out for each other.

"As a colleague – I don't know him personally – I feel that as artists we have a communal voice and it's important that we stick together, that we have a sense of solidarity with each other," he said.

"It would be nice to see the art world come together a little more. Perhaps all museums and galleries should be closed for a day across the world. I think some such campaign needs to form itself."

Kapoor said the Chinese state's behaviour was reminiscent of the Soviet era, when "the voice of artists of different kinds was seen as being dangerous".

He added: "It does bear witness to the barbarity of governments that if they're that paranoid they have to put away artists. It's a ridiculous situation."

The sculptor added that if the Chinese authorities had a case against Ai, they should bring it as soon as possible.

"Let's get on with it then – let them accuse him of something," he said. "It's a month now that the poor man has been held without a voice. But not only that: his family doesn't know where he is. This is not a situation that's acceptable in any circumstances." © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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