Ai Wei Wei’s New Project Has Stumbled Upon Resistance In NYC

Ai Wei Wei’s new project, called “Good Fences Make Good Neighbours”, was commissioned by the  Public Art Fund in New York and consists of 300 pieces responding to the concepts of borders and immigration. One of the installations set to be revealed in the archway of Washington Square park, however, has sparked some outcry from the Washington Square Association. The group is challenging the installation based on the idea that it would disrupt annual Christmas celebrations, and would compromise the archway’s own art, hindering it with politicised art.. They also claim to only have been informed of the intended installation a few weeks ago The association’s president wrote to the Public Art Fund: “This installation sets a dangerous precedent that one of New York City’s most recognised monuments and pieces of art can be decorated and co-opted for four months at a time. It’s ironic that the installation is called Good Neighbours.” In turn, the president of the Public Art Fund, Susan Freedman, noted: “the vital qualities of community and open engagement that Washington Square Park embodies are among the characteristics that make it an ideal location for this important exhibition that brings to light a powerful statement about division and separation at a global, national, local, and personal level.” On his idea behind the project, Ai Wei Wei had previously noted: “We are witnessing a rise in nationalism, an increase in the closure of borders, and an exclusionary attitude toward migrants and refugees, the victims of war and the casualties of globalisation.”

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