A Provocateur Finds Out Just How Far He Can Go
A few years ago, when the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was invited to show at the German festival called Documenta, his "piece" consisted of the most generous of gestures: he arranged for a visit from 1,001 of his compatriots who might not otherwise have traveled. So it's poignant and ironic that on April 3, on his own way out of his homeland, the artist was detained by authorities. Days later they announced that Ai was a suspect in unspecified "economic crimes"—code for "we hate you, and we're taking you down." They also published an editorial that accused Ai of being a "maverick of Chinese society" who likes "surprising speech" and "surprising behavior."
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