Beyond Ai Weiwei: How China’s Artists Handle Politics (or Avoid Them)

In a gallery in Hong Kong’s Chai Wan district last week, during the city’s third annual installment of the international Art Basel fair, the Beijing-based artist Huang Rui introduced a new live work called “Red Black White Grey.” At the start of the performance, four affectless women walked onstage wearing trench coats, then disrobed one by one as Huang, who is sixty-three, slathered their bodies with black and then white paint. He directed them to lie down on a canvas that looked like four Hong Kong flags, in configurations that by the end spelled

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