This October, New Yorkers start looking out for some though-provoking art. Ai Weiwei will be back to show more than 100 fences and installations around New York City in his latest exhibition Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. The title is a reference to Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall,” which uses the line “Good fences make good neighbors.”
“Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors serves as a reminder to all New Yorkers that although barriers may attempt to divide us, we must unite to make a meaningful impact in the larger community,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York City has long served as a gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants seeking better lives and has long benefited from their contributions and service in every neighborhood across the five boroughs. This expansive public art project that explores themes of freedom and the power of self-expression is a perfect symbol and reminder for all of us, especially in the current political climate.”
“I was an immigrant in New York in the 1980s for ten years and the issue with the migration crisis has been a longtime focus of my practice,” says Ai Weiwei. “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment. But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.”
Though I won’t be in New York to see these powerful works in person, since immigration is such a hot topic these days, I’m sure pictures of Ai’s artwork will be spread all over social media. Can’t wait to see them.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors will be on view October 12, 2017 – February 11, 2018.