While I respect Ai Weiwei for his artistic creativity and discipline, it is still disheartening to see the complicity involved in vandalizing one of New York’s most iconic public sculptures, the Washington Square Arch by Stanford White.
Due to the secrecy involved in the public art process, we weren’t told how this act of travesty was decided. The community was not consulted, and Community Board 2 was given a fait accompli to vote on under a gag order, much like a fascist government would do.
There is no question that the space within the arch, with its beautiful, coffered ceilings and marvelous acoustics for musicians, is an essential part of the whole. It is not a vacuum waiting to be filled by another builder or artist.
No self-respecting artist should deface the work of another artist, even for four months.
—Brian J. Pape