October 24th, 2012


Ai Weiwei’s Gangnam Parody Is Called “Grass Mud Horse Style", Just As Bad As China’s Other Parodies

If there’s anyone in China who might understand what it means to parody something — actually, truly parody, and not just copy or co-opt — it’s Ai Weiwei. He’s an artist, you know. Who better than he to skewer China’s nouveau riche and be this country’s answer to PSY? You think Gangnam, South Korea is a district of gross decadence and put-on fakery? You must not have seen the expat communities in Shunyi, or the empty apartments in SOHO purchased by moneyed speculators, or the nearly complete compound on Xihuangchenggen South Street, between Zhongnanhai and Xidan, which required demolishing a neighborhood and, when done, will be 100 percent exclusive. There’s enough material in Beijing alone for a dozen “Gangnam Style” videos, but we don’t need a dozen. We — this country of China — need one. And we need someone — someone like Ai Weiwei — to do it.


I’m here to tell you Ai Weiwei did not do it. What did he give us? Four wasted minutes of Artist and Friends. Dancing. In front of vines and potted plants. With clips of the original Gangnam spliced in for some reason.

That’s it. If, in the name of art, Ai Weiwei dropped an IKEA-purchased brass pot on our feet, we’d have less reason to be so dismayed.

Collapse )