Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: Ai Weiwei

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall …

– Robert Frost, “Mending Wall” 1914

“Good fences make good neighbors” is a proverb spoken in “Mending Wall” by a narrow-minded Yankee who “moves in darkness.” The poem’s narrator (and, likely, Frost) questions the need for a wall and expresses deep uneasiness.

With a nod to Frost, artist Ai Weiwei named a project calling attention to the world’s 65 million refugees, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.” More than 300 of these fence/cage installations are spread around New York.

Photos here are of two of Weiwei’s works. Above is an installation in Washington Square Park. The orange work below, “Gilded Cage,” is at 59th and Fifth, just outside of Central Park.

Weiwei was born in Beijing in 1957. He visited 40 refugee camps in 23 countries to make a documentary film called Human Flow.

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