The story first reported at this blog about local community group and community members asking the Public Art Fund to “withdraw its plans” for artist and activist Ai Wewei’s proposed “large-scale,” long-term “Fences” installation under the Washington Square Arch received a lot of pick up!
New York Times, Gothamist, Curbed and more followed up on the story reported here on opposition to the planned 50-foot-high “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” installation under the Arch, which would remain from October 12 to February 11.
Community Board 2 will be holding a joint meeting of its Parks Committee and Arts & Institution Committee on Wednesday, September 6th at 6:30 p.m. at Judson Church. Members of Community Board 2 were consulted in advance, and, according to the Public Art Fund, were in favor of the project and location.
Washington Square Park was recently announced as a location, one of 300 sites throughout the 5 boroughs.
Reasons outlined in a letter from community group, Washington Square Association, around since 1906, include:
no community input on project; four months blocking off Arch/public Space; will lead to cancelling Annual Arch Tree Lighting Ceremony (a tradition since 1924) – the statement goes into more detail about the Arch itself calling it “a work of art in itself” which “does not need to be politicized,” and that the “installation sets a dangerous precedent that one of New York City’s most recognized monuments and pieces of art can be decorated and co-opted for 4 months at a time.”
It is not about opposition to art or the artist but it brings up questions, including:
What is right for a (this) public park and what is the public process by which these decisions are made?
WSP Blog got the details for you of the Community Board meeting so you can mark your calendars and attend!
Meeting of Community Board 2 Parks Committee & Arts and Institutions Committee
Wednesday, September 6th 6:30 p.m.
1. Update from the New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation on the progress of the LGBT Memorial work planned for the Hudson River Park.
2. Presentation of the Public Art Fund’s city-wide exhibition, Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, including the plans to erect one of the installations at the Washington Square Arch in Washington Square Park.
Location: Judson Church, Assembly Hall, 239 Thompson Street off Washington Square South
Will be writing more next on the outreach for the project and who was consulted prior to it being announced.
Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:
Top Photo: Ai Weiwei Studio
Bottom Photo: Public Art Fund