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Where to find Ai Weiwei's ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ in NYC

The citywide installation will be on view from October 12 through February 2018

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Ai Weiwei’s citywide public art project Good Fences Make Good Neighbors will be officially unveiled on October 12, marking the beginning of its four month stay of installation throughout city. But the complexity and vast scope of the project means that most of it—from major sculptural installations in Washington Square and Central parks to smaller installations at some bus shelters to lamppost banners—are already in place.

Taken together, the installations address growing hostility towards immigrants, the rise of nationalism throughout the world, and the growing refugee crisis. The project is installed on both public and private sites, as well as on bus shelters in Downtown Brooklyn, Harlem, and The Bronx. It will also appear as documentary images and portraits on lampposts, LinkNYC kiosks, and newsstands throughout the five boroughs.

“New York City's immigrant communities have had to tap into deep wells of resilience to overcome obstacles and fight for place and belonging,” Bitta Mostofi, the acting commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, said in a statement addressing the project. “These works will stop New Yorkers in their paths and invite reflection on the barriers that divide us.” It’s about time.

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1. Doris C Freedman Place

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Doris C Freedman Pl
New York, NY 10019

Situated at one of the main entrances to Central Park, Gilded Cage takes the concept of a fence and turns it into a large scale interactive object. The Public Art Fund writes, “While retaining references often associated with structures of division, like bars and turn-styles, the installation will be juxtaposed against one of the most visited urban public parks in the U.S. Designed as a democratic oasis and vision of utopia, Central Park has vast open areas, lush forests, and monuments of heroes and explorers, creating a powerful contrast with Ai’s work.”

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2. Unisphere

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A low-slung interpretation of a fence made of mesh netting strung around metal barriers, Circle Fence willemphasize the Unisphere’s form and symbolic meaning, engaging with the steel representation of the Earth,” the Public Art Fund writes. The Unisphere itself is a product of the 1964 World’s Fair, where people from across the globe came together to gawk at the latest technological advancements from across the globe. Today, the Unisphere sits at the nexus of some of the country’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

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3. Washington Square Arch

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Washington Square N
New York, NY 10012
(212) 360-8143
Visit Website

Another installation is situated under Washington Square Park’s triumphal arch—much to the neighborhood’s chagrin. It takes the form of a large cage with a cutout styled after two forms embracing. Ai says, “The triumphal arch has been a symbol of victory after war since antiquity. The basic form of a fence or cage suggests that it might inhibit movement through the arch, but instead a passageway cuts through this barrier – a door obstructed, through which another door opens." The installation has already proven to be a popular selfie destination.

4. The Cooper Union

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30 Cooper Sq
New York, NY 10003
(212) 353-4100
Visit Website

Five Fences frames the open spaces on the north portico of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building, a New York City landmark imbued with a history of hosting and nurturing intellectual thinkers. The building also represents a beacon of free speech and democracy.

5. 48 E 7th St

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48 E 7th St
New York, NY 10003

It’s no oversight that many of the project’s installations are clustered in the East Village and Lower East Side. The neighborhoods have historically been a landing pad for new immigrants. Ai himself lived here, in a basement apartment at 48 East 7th Street, when he was a student and immigrant in the 1980s. The installation here will occupy the space between two buildings.

Scott Lynch

6. 189 Chrystie St

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189 Chrystie St
New York, NY 10002

A rooftop fence appears on top of this low building, now home to burlesque club The Box.

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7. 248 Bowery

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248 Bowery
New York, NY 10012

A second rooftop fence is installed on top of this 19th-century building.

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8. Essex Street Market

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120 Essex St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 312-3603
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A narrative scene appears on a banner spanning the market’s flagpoles. It depicts “the perilous journeys of refugees, driven by threats to their survival and also by hope,” the Public Art Fund writes.

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9. Fulton Mall

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Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 403-1600
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Bus shelters along Fulton in Street in Downtown Brooklyn, along 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in Harlem, and at 163rd Street and Third Avenue in The Bronx have been transformed with the installation of fence-like structures. (Don’t worry, they actually provide more seating.) The installations highlight how transportation figures into the global refugee crisis, as well as the role transportation infrastructure has played in the American immigrant story.

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1. Doris C Freedman Place

Doris C Freedman Pl, New York, NY 10019

Situated at one of the main entrances to Central Park, Gilded Cage takes the concept of a fence and turns it into a large scale interactive object. The Public Art Fund writes, “While retaining references often associated with structures of division, like bars and turn-styles, the installation will be juxtaposed against one of the most visited urban public parks in the U.S. Designed as a democratic oasis and vision of utopia, Central Park has vast open areas, lush forests, and monuments of heroes and explorers, creating a powerful contrast with Ai’s work.”

Doris C Freedman Pl
New York, NY 10019

2. Unisphere

Corona, NY 11368

A low-slung interpretation of a fence made of mesh netting strung around metal barriers, Circle Fence willemphasize the Unisphere’s form and symbolic meaning, engaging with the steel representation of the Earth,” the Public Art Fund writes. The Unisphere itself is a product of the 1964 World’s Fair, where people from across the globe came together to gawk at the latest technological advancements from across the globe. Today, the Unisphere sits at the nexus of some of the country’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

3. Washington Square Arch

Washington Square N, New York, NY 10012

Another installation is situated under Washington Square Park’s triumphal arch—much to the neighborhood’s chagrin. It takes the form of a large cage with a cutout styled after two forms embracing. Ai says, “The triumphal arch has been a symbol of victory after war since antiquity. The basic form of a fence or cage suggests that it might inhibit movement through the arch, but instead a passageway cuts through this barrier – a door obstructed, through which another door opens." The installation has already proven to be a popular selfie destination.

Washington Square N
New York, NY 10012

4. The Cooper Union

30 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003

Five Fences frames the open spaces on the north portico of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building, a New York City landmark imbued with a history of hosting and nurturing intellectual thinkers. The building also represents a beacon of free speech and democracy.

30 Cooper Sq
New York, NY 10003

5. 48 E 7th St

48 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Scott Lynch

It’s no oversight that many of the project’s installations are clustered in the East Village and Lower East Side. The neighborhoods have historically been a landing pad for new immigrants. Ai himself lived here, in a basement apartment at 48 East 7th Street, when he was a student and immigrant in the 1980s. The installation here will occupy the space between two buildings.

48 E 7th St
New York, NY 10003

6. 189 Chrystie St

189 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

A rooftop fence appears on top of this low building, now home to burlesque club The Box.

189 Chrystie St
New York, NY 10002

7. 248 Bowery

248 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

A second rooftop fence is installed on top of this 19th-century building.

248 Bowery
New York, NY 10012

8. Essex Street Market

120 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

A narrative scene appears on a banner spanning the market’s flagpoles. It depicts “the perilous journeys of refugees, driven by threats to their survival and also by hope,” the Public Art Fund writes.

120 Essex St
New York, NY 10002

9. Fulton Mall

Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Bus shelters along Fulton in Street in Downtown Brooklyn, along 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in Harlem, and at 163rd Street and Third Avenue in The Bronx have been transformed with the installation of fence-like structures. (Don’t worry, they actually provide more seating.) The installations highlight how transportation figures into the global refugee crisis, as well as the role transportation infrastructure has played in the American immigrant story.

Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11201