Ai Weiwei's tax bill may have turned into his latest group performance art work.
The internationally known artist and government critic who was grabbed and held without charges for nearly three months this spring has been handed a $2.4 million tax bill by authorities. Ai vehemently denies that he owes the taxes, and has started a fund to collect donations to help pay the tab. The tax bill has been seen by many as a message to Ai to stay in line an tone down his criticism of the government. Though he was grabbed and disappeared by authorities amid the spring's clampdown on dissent, he was not charged with any crimes related to subversion or otherwise undermining the authoritarian regime. Instead, officials claimed he had skimped on paying his taxes.
Thus far, tens of thousands of donations have poured in to offset the tab, even though as many have pointed out, Ai could like pay the bill himself by selling some of his art. More likely, he's once again involved the masses by making donors part of his exhibition.