Nuit Blanche, the annual city-wide art exhibition that ran from sunset to sunrise on October 6, received international attention in part due to one major exhibition: Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycles.
Located at Nathan Phillips Square, the installation features thousands of stainless steel bicycles shipped over the Pacific via special containers, according to an article that ran in Gizmodo
. The installation is one of six Scotiabank Nuit Blanche projects that will be extended
in Toronto until the end of October.
"As the centerpiece of this year's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art event that takes over city streets, 3,144 bicycles, the most Weiwei has used of this work to date, were stacked 100 feet in length and 30 feet in height and depth in Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square. This was the first time the installation has been displayed in an open air, public space. Since this was a night-time festival, it was spectacularly lit up with pink and blue lights," the article
But, as Wall Street Journal points out, Forever Bicycles has additional meaning for the city of Toronto in the form of tourist dollars. "The Nuit Blanche has become a big money maker for Canada’s largest city. Last year, it drew 38 million Canadian dollars ($36.9 million) to the city’s coffers, with over 1 million people checking out its exhibits," the article reports. "This year is expected to top that, thanks largely to Mr. Ai."
Justine Palinska, a spokeswoman with Toronto's economic development and culture department, told the Wall Street Journal that, "It's definitely the most important festival we’ve done, thanks to the Ai Weiwei exhibit."
Although Nuit Blanche originated in Paris, it continues to be a profitable event for Toronto. The article continues, "Last year, 170,000 people came from out of town alone, with many arriving in Toronto from the U.S. Mr. Ai’s international renown means this year’s event is expected to bring in yet more visitors from outside of the city."
A photo of the installation, taken by managing photographer Tanja-Tiziana, can be seen in this week's masthead image slider.
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Original source: Wall Street Journal