Beijing artists detained after homage to Ai Weiwei

Thu Jun 2, 2011 7:14am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - The organizing artists of a Beijing art show who reserved a blank gallery wall with a small name tag as a show of support for detained artist-activist Ai Weiwei have been detained by police and their exhibit was shut down.

Lin Bing and Fei Xiaosheng were called in for questioning by police Wednesday evening after the opening of their photography exhibit, an employee at the CCD300 Modern Art and Design Center said Thursday.

"Lin Bing has already returned, but Fei has yet to be in contact. The gallery is still open, but the photos have already been taken down," the woman named Yang said.

She said gallery owner Shi Yong had not been detained, and it was unclear if Fei was still being questioned by police.

The two artists' mobile phones were turned off Thursday.

Posts on China's most popular microblogging site, Weibo, said two other artists among the group of 20 that exhibited at the Incidental Art Festival's photo show -- Wang Jun and Zhang Feng -- had also been questioned at police stations.

The organizers' gesture of support for China's most politically controversial artist was a rare public display from mainland China's artistic community, which has largely stayed silent in public about Ai's detention.

Ai was detained at Beijing airport on April 3.

Chinese police told state media last month that a company Ai controlled, The Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., had evaded a "huge amount" of taxes and destroyed accounting documents.   Continued...