23 St @ Park Ave S
The artist has co-opted spaces that are generally reserved for advertising on newsstands. Here, he displays an illustrated classical Greek-style frieze depicting the many forms of the contemporary global refugee crisis. In a mash-up of historical references, its stylized imagery evokes black-figure vase painting, Ancient Egyptian symbolism, classical Chinese motifs, and Ai’s own iconic imagery to represent a contemporary epic of war, ruins, perilous migration journeys, sea crossings, refugee camps with restrictive fencing, and protest demonstrations. Its compelling imagery highlights the struggle and stark conditions that millions of people worldwide face as they are uprooted and forced to flee their homes.