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Two of the world’s most beloved panda bears, José Andrés and Ai Weiwei, are fast pals, according to Youtube.
China blogger Anthony Tao ran into Ai at a restaurant in Caochangdi, a neighborhood something like Beijing’s H Street. The Atlantic‘s James Fallows confirms the meet-up and the whimsical haircut that followed. Fallows promises a lengthier discussion of art and policy to come—which will come as no surprise to Washington viewers who got to know all about Ai’s work last year.
All you need to know is that Andrés and Ai are basically best friends and with any luck they’ll remake Tango & Cash together as an arthaus romp. This is a friendship that merits a buddy flick.
“The lobster is here!” Andrés laughs, as Ai administers a 1990s bowl-style haircut for a fan for no good reason. Then Andrés directs the person filming to a table covered in small plates, which he presumably made for his BFF. “He’s doing this in the middle of his dinner,” Andrés says. “The lobster, I bought it in a market. I bought it this morning, I give to him.”
If it at times feels like life is all fun and games for Ai Weiwei—he is making a metal album with Chinese rock star Zuoxiao Zuzhou—make no mistake. It’s deliberate: Cultivating a cult of personality outside his art practice makes Ai notorious, and notoriety keeps him safe.