As part of the extensive programming connected to the 40th Anniversary of the Public Art Fund, internationally-renowned artist Ai Weiwei will bring the multi-borough art installation, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors to New York City this October. The work, which will consist of site-specific fences in places like Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Doris C. Freedman Plaza next to Central Park, the Essex Street Market, The Cooper Union and even bus shelters in Brooklyn, explores the symbolic and functional role of the fence as an “expression of division,” writes the Public Art Fund, “…a way of transforming the metal wire security fence into a powerful artistic symbol.”
Ai Weiwei draws on his own experience as an immigrant in New York City for a decade starting in the 1980s, addressing not only the United States’ more recent policy initiatives but also the ongoing international migration crisis. The work builds upon gallery Ai Weiwei’s recent exhibitions in Europe and New York City using found objects like garments and life jackets from the Greek Island of Lesbos, discarded by refugees. But Good Fences Make Good Neighbors will specifically addresses sites and history in New York City connected with the story of immigration, which served as a launchpad to the rest of the country.
The Public Art Fund writes,
“Ai Weiwei’s interventions will appear in unexpected urban contexts across the city – on rooftops, in spaces between buildings, on bus shelters, as freestanding sculptures, and more – as if growing out of the existing urban landscape, while also changing how we perceive our environment. Rather than impeding daily life, the fences will serve as powerful metaphors in a city that has long served as a gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants.”
Some of Ai Weiwei’s work, like his famous animal masks, are being produced in the Modern Art Foundry in Queens. Take an upcoming tour of the incredible space and watch a live bronze pouring, exclusive to Untapped Cities:
The 40th Anniversary of Public Art Fund will also bring a work by Anish Kapoor to Brooklyn Bridge Park and has already installed Liz Glynn’s Gilded Age Ballroom next to Central Park.