Lonely Planet Writer

The sites for Ai Weiwei’s borough-spanning New York City fence exhibition have been announced

The locations have been announced for an ambitious art project that will see Chinese artist Ai Weiwei installing eye-catching security fences at different spots across New York City’s five boroughs this October. Called, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”, the exhibition will see site specific sculptural installations being put in place in over 300 different spaces, including Doris C. Freedman Places at Central Park, Washington Square Arch and the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens.

A proposed design for a large golden cage at Doris C. Freedman Places at Central Park.
A proposed design for a large golden cage at Doris C. Freedman Places at Central Park. Image by Public Art Fund

Created in collaboration with Public Art Fund to mark the 40th anniversary of the non-profit organisation, the project seeks to raise awareness of human rights issues and the plight of migrants around the world through its striking imagery. The pieces are due to appear in unexpected urban contexts such as on rooftops and in between buildings. Other locations set to house sculptural pieces include buildings on the Lower East Side and bus stops in Downtown Brooklyn and Harlem.

“Rather than impeding daily life, the fences will serve as powerful metaphors in a city that has long served as a gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants,” Public Art Fund said in a statement. The project is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter in order to be completed, and has raised over $33,000 of its $80,000 pledge goal, with just over 20 days to go.

Select pieces will include an abstract golden cage-like sculpture as well as a polished mirror passageway that forms the shape of two united human silhouettes. In addition to the sculptural works, Ai Weiwei has created a new series of 200 two-dimensional works that will appear on lampposts and banners in all five boroughs. The exhibition is due to open on 12 October through to 11 February, and is the artist’s largest to date. Having moved to New York City as an art student in the 1980s, Ai Weiwei experienced life as an immigrant in America, making the project a deeply personal one.

A proposed design for an installation at Washington Square Arch as part of the Ai WeiWei fences project.
A proposed design for an installation at Washington Square Arch as part of the project. Image by Public Art Fund

“In many ways, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is the culmination of his work to date. It grows out of his personal experience of ‘otherness,’ his distinguished practice as both artist and architectural designer, as well as his intensive research on the international refugee crisis and global rise of nationalism,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume.

More information on the project, as well specific locations for installations is available on the Public Art Fund website.