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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Artist Ai Weiwei 'celebrates' Shanghai studio demolition

Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says he is offering his supporters 10,000 river crabs -- an autumn delicacy -- to "celebrate" the government-ordered demolition of his new Shanghai studio.
Ai, one of China's most famous artists and social critics, was invited to build the 1.1-million-dollar studio in a new art district in the city's north, but officials have now declared it an illegal structure.
"November 7 is 'River Crab Fest' at Ai Weiwei's Shanghai studio," he wrote in a post on Twitter.
The artist said he would offer a banquet on Sunday including Chinese wine and 10,000 river crabs -- whose name in Chinese sounds like "harmonise", a government euphemism for censorship.
It was not immediately clear whether Ai, who is based in Beijing, would attend the event in person.
A representative for Ai confirmed the details of the event to AFP.
Shanghai called a six-month moratorium on major demolition and construction projects during the World Expo to improve the city's air quality, but since the event concluded on Sunday, halted projects have resumed.
"Now the Shanghai city government has spare time to demolish Ai Weiwei's studio," the artist wrote on Twitter.
Ai had cranial surgery last year for injuries sustained during an incident with police in southwestern Sichuan province, where he was investigating the collapse of schoolhouses in the May 2008 earthquake that left more than 87,000 people dead or missing.
Ai's work is currently being showcased at a giant installation at London's Tate Modern gallery, where he has filled the main hall with millions of porcelain sunflower seeds.
His perhaps best-known work is his collaboration with Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, on the National Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, known as the "Bird's Nest", which he has since renounced as a fake "smile".

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