Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, The Arch, courtesy of the Public Art Fund
Ai Weiwei’s New York City art installation, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” is expansive: it features ten large fence-themed structures, more than 90 smaller installations and 200 banners found in all five boroughs. While the multi-site, multi-media exhibition might seem like a lot to explore, the Public Art Fund, which commissioned the project, has made enjoying Weiwei’s sprawling exhibition easy. The fund has created an interactive map that displays all 300 of the famed artist-activist’s artworks currently found at public spaces, transit sites, lampposts and monuments all over the city, as well as additional information for each.
Weiwei’s citywide exhibition comes as a result of the current international migration crisis and the “sociopolitical battles” occurring in the United States and around the world. “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of the political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment,” Weiwei, who immigrated to NYC from China during the 1980s, said. “But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same.”
As part of the exhibition, 200 banners have been hung around the city. These banners display portraits of refugees who are featured in Weiwei’s documentary, Human Flow. For the film, Weiwei traveled to 23 countries and 40 refugee camps, totaling 900 hours of footage.
The map separates work by color, grouping categories by structures, bus shelters, ad platforms, and platforms. Not only does the map tell users how far away the site is, it gives directions too. In partnership with many city sites, like markets, parks and bus shelters, the installation will be on display from October 12, 2017, until February 11, 2018.
Explore the Public Art Fund’s exhibition map here.
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