As an act of subversion, the empty wall unveiled Wednesday afternoon inside the CCD 300 gallery was rather tame. The defiance apparently came in appending the name Ai Weiwei below the blank space. Lin Bing, one of the show’s organizers, described the void as a melancholy reference to the plight of Mr. Ai, who has now spent two months in police custody and is accused of economic crimes. “We feel regret because his voice can’t be heard,” Mr. Lin told Reuters on Wednesday. The void’s symbolism, it seems, was apparently too much for the authorities.
On Thursday morning, the curators of the show, the Incidental Art Festival, were forced to close their doors and dismantle the exhibit, which included photographs, video and conceptual pieces by 19 participants, many of them performance artists. “The whole thing has been canceled and everything has already been taken down,” Yang Xiaoyan, a gallery employee, said Thursday afternoon. What is more, three organizers of the festival, including Mr. Lin, seem to have disappeared, she and others said.
Wen Jie, one of the festival participants, said he believed that the three organizers were being questioned by the police; Mr. Lin, in fact, had told friends that he had received an invitation from the Public Security Bureau on Wednesday afternoon to “discuss” the exhibition.