Earlier this year it was reported that starting in the fall Chinese artist Ai Weiwei would building hundreds of fences throughout NYC illustrating “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” as one of his largest art projects.
Now that the time is nearing to build this art project, there are some concerns related to the placement of one of these installations—directly under the Washington Square Park Arch. The issue is not in the art piece itself and what it signifies, but rather the placement and duration of time it will be there.
The Washington Square Association wrote a statement last week to the Public Art Fund (who is funding the project) protesting the installation for its interference with seasonal celebrations held in the park.
The installation would remain under the arch from October 12 through January. The Washington Square Association expressed in their statement that this is a big problem because the holiday tree has traditionally gone in that space since 1924, with “over a thousand people in our community gather[ing] for the tree lighting and singing early in December and for caroling on Christmas Eve. It would also interfere with the annual Children’s Halloween Parade and Sukkot house that all occur in that general area.
WSA’s second reason for not having the art piece there states that “the monumental Arch is a work of art in itself. It does not need to be politicized with the proposed installation.” And the final reason? The community was not asked about it, or included in the process until they “were presented with the final designs”.
The matter will be discussed by the Community Board 2 Parks Committee at their next meeting, but according to the WSA that “meeting is being held just days before [they] break ground.”
Featured image source [Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio/Frahm & Frahm]