Ai Weiwei’s “Gilded Cage” provokes a dialogue on a cultural crisis.
“As the epicenter of art and culture, New York City is the perfect canvas for Ai Weiwei’s work,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio of Chinese-born artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, which features more than 300 site-specific works presented by the Public Art Fund, on view throughout the city through Feb. 11. With one of the installations, “Gilded Cage,” which resides at the southeast entrance of Central Park, Weiwei challenges New Yorkers to ponder issues such as immigration and isolation. “Ai Weiwei is unique in having combined the roles of pre-eminent contemporary artist, political dissident and human rights activist,” Public Art Fund Director and chief curator Nicholas Baume says. “Much like Ai Weiwei, New York City’s immigrant communities have had to tap into deep wells of resilience to overcome obstacles, and fight for place and belonging,” observes Bitta Mostofi, acting commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “These works will stop New Yorkers in their paths and invite reflection on the barriers that divide us, and in turn, the immensity of what unites us as humans.”