Ai Weiwei’s First LES Installation is Now on Display at the Essex Street Market

Posted on: October 7th, 2017 at 9:03 am by

Ai Weiwei is taking the city by storm this month with his “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” public art project.

While not technically launched, the dissident artist’s work is already going up around town. Indeed, installation began earlier this week at the marquee locations like the Washington Square Park Arch and Cooper Union. Some of the “softer” locations also received artwork. Such as the Essex Street Market.

The series of branded flags lining the 77-year-old warehouse was replaced by a half-dozen banner inserts illustrating a narrative scene. This is the first of the Lower East Side recipients. Each depicts the “perilous journeys of refugees, driven by threats to their survival and also by hope,” according to recent press materials.

“These site-specific works will draw attention upward to the architecture of these lower lying buildings on the vibrant Lower East Side, a neighborhood that has been home to many immigrant groups since the 19th century.”

The four-month artistic endeavor kicks off October 12, and 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).

The Lower East Side is well-represented in Weiwei’s vision. Fences are also to appear in and around 48 East 7th Street (Van Leeuwen), 189 Chrystie Street (The Box), and 248 Bowery.

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.”

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