World renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei unveils his latest work with Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, a city-wide public exhibition located throughout New York City.
Presented by independent, non-profit arts organization Public Art Fund to coincide with its 40th anniversary, this series of large and small scale installations addresses the international migration crisis and current global geopolitical landscape by using “security fences” as the main element and artistic symbol.
With Ai Weiwei having lived in NYC for more than a decade, the artist shared that this exhibition is also a homage to his own life. “New York is the city that I spent about 10 years in. I learned so much from this city and I love it so much. It’s not easy for me to do this work. I have to do something to pay back my respect, and my love.”
He continued, “We had the choice to do work in different locations, like Rockefeller Center for example, but I’m more interested in the city, like bus stations. That really makes the five boroughs — the people who use the city, as a facility.”
With this in mind, Weiwei created an accessible exhibit that is blended with the daily lives of all New Yorkers, as well as being easily accessible.
Large-scale, site-specific works are installed in three major parks around the city, including The Washington Square Arch that incorporates a 40-foot tall cage structure. “The form of a fence or cage suggests that it might inhibit movement through the arch, but instead a passageway cuts through this barrier – a door obstructed, through which another door opens,” explains the artist.
The other exhibits can be found on top of and in between private buildings around Lower Manhattan, including a series of new flagpole-mounted works on the façade of the Essex Street Market, as well as sculptural fences that surround ten bus stops across the city.
Furthermore, Weiwei has developed 200 banners that appear in all five boroughs on lampposts. These banners incorporate portraits of immigrants from different periods and photographs of notable refugees that have been taken by the artist at refugee camps worldwide.
Marking as Ai Weiwei’s largest and most ambitious public art exhibition yet, it will be on view starting Thursday, October 12, 2017 until Sunday, February 11, 2018, at 300+ sites across New York City.
Also, view Ronnie Fieg and Daniel Arsham’s new exclusive art gallery at KITH.