Ai Weiwei to Install Several ‘Fences’ Around the LES this Fall as Part of Citywide Project
Provacative Chinese dissident-artist Ai Weiwei will impart his “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” public art project on October 12. The new exhibition calls for more than three hundred fence installations across the Five Boroughs.
To ensure the deadline is met, and that the event remains publicly funded, the Public Art Fund curator took to Kickstarter yesterday to crowdsource additional coin. The goal is to collect $80,000 by September 20. They’re well on the way; as of this morning, the total sum raised is already past $27,000.
The Lower East Side is well-represented in Weiwei’s vision. Fences will appear in and around 48 East 7th Street (Van Leeuwen), 189 Chrystie Street (The Box), 248 Bowery, the Cooper Union, and the Essex Street Market.
The four-month artistic endeavor is essentially a celebration and commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the Public Art Fund. It carries similar bombastic hallmarks as previous Fund hits like the The New York City Waterfalls (2008).
With “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” Weiwei aims to “draw attention to the role of the fence as both a physical manifestation and metaphorical expression of division.”
“I was an immigrant in New York in the 1980s for ten years and the issue with the migration crisis has been a longtime focus of my practice,” the artist noted in the announcement last March. “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment. But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.”