Ai Weiwei has worked with Public Art Fund to present Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, a vast, citywide exhibition across New York City, opening today. Inspired by the international migration crisis and current geopolitical landscape, the show “transforms the security fence into a powerful social and artistic symbol”. It is the artist’s largest project to date and one of the most extensive public art shows ever organised in New York City.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors spans five boroughs and over 300 locations including sculpture in Central Park, under Washington Square Arch, on top and in between buildings such as The Cooper Union, and several bus shelters. In addition there will be graphic and photographic works on flags, billboards and lamppost banners.
Pieces taking over advertising space will showcase a new series of 100 documentary images by the artist from his research at refugee camps and national borders. A graphic work depicting “the many forms of global refugee crises” will appear on numerous newsstands. The sculptural works, made in collaboration with UAP, include Gilded Cage in Doris C. Freedman Plaza, which, with its bars and turnstiles, references structures of division juxtaposed against the “democratic oasis” of Central Park.
“Ambitious projects like Good Fences Make Good Neighbors foster cultural discourse, challenge us, and can bring about real social progress,” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio commented. “We are thrilled to share our iconic public spaces with these bold installations.”
Bitta Mostofi, acting commissioner of the mayor’s office of immigrant affairs, said: “Much like Ai Weiwei, New York City’s immigrant communities have had to tap into deep wells of resilience to overcome obstacles and fight for place and belonging. These works will stop New Yorkers in their paths and invite reflection on the barriers that divide us, and in turn, the immensity of what unites us as humans. We thank the Public Art Fund for their dedication to bringing diverse art directly to the streets of New York."
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