Update: On Tuesday, demolition crews flattened the Shanghai studio of China's most famous contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei. Two months ago, Foreign Policy covered the farewell party the artist organized at the studio to call attention to the government's recent announcement of its impending destruction.
The new studio of China's most famous contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei, is located on the outskirts of Shanghai. Construction costs totaled about $1 million and it was completed earlier this year with the blessing of the local government. As Ai told The Guardian's Tania Branigan and Adam Gabbatt: "Two years ago a high official [from Shanghai] came to my studio [he has another workspace in Beijing] to ask me to build a studio in this newly developed cultural district in an agricultural area. I told him I wouldn't do it because I had no faith in government, but he somehow convinced me… Half a dozen artists were invited to build studios there because they wanted a cultural area." Yet, on Oct. 19, Ai, who is known for being critical of Beijing, received a notice from the local government that his studio was slated for demolition this fall, allegedly for violating building codes. "Ai's studio did not go through the application procedures, therefore, it is an illegal building," Chen Jie, director of the local urban construction department, told the state-run Global Times.