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.”

Recent Stories

Talkin’ ’bout My Generation: Memories of Bill Graham and the Fillmore East

While working on our story about the new “Bill Graham and The Rock & Roll Revolution” exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, this reporter started collecting personal stories and memories of Graham’s legendary music venue, the Fillmore East. Located on Second Avenue and East 6th Street, the building began life in 1926 as The Commodore, […]

Chatham Square Library Closed for ‘Building Repairs’ Until Next Month

The Chatham Square Library is currently down for maintenance. The so-called “building repairs and improvements” are scheduled to last through February 29, with the library itself to reopen the following Monday (March 2). Until then, borrowers can return books and periodicals to the Seward Park branch just down East Broadway. The Chatham Square branch of […]

Hua Mei Bird Garden Receives Protective Fence from Flying Balls

You may have noticed the chain-link fence standing toward the Delancey perimeter of the sunken court on Broome Street. The Pit, as it’s nicknamed, was resurfaced with “sports coating” last summer, part of the city’s overarching attempt to redirect park space while the East River Park is bulldozed in the name of coastal resiliency. However, […]

‘Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution’ Opens at the New-York Historical Society

For many who grew up in a certain era, the name Bill Graham sparks Proustian memories of life-changing rock-and-roll shows. And if you were in San Francisco or New York City, the music impresario’s Fillmore concert venues were the greatest places in the world to see live music. Starting in 1965, Graham was booking and […]

Delancey Street Bodega Robbed at Gunpoint, Suspects at Large

Police are after two men suspected of holding up a Delancey Street bodega at gunpoint. The robbery – caught on camera – happened shortly before 4:30pm at the N&N Delancey Smoke Shop near the southwest corner of Allen Street. One suspect asked the clerk for cigarettes, while the other reportedly demanded money with an assault […]