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A Year On, Ai Wei Wei's Human Flow Is More Relevant Than Ever

Last week, on a gusty afternoon of spotless blue skies, the global refugee crisis arrived on the Upper East Side, roosting beneath the looming shadow of the Queensboro Bridge. However, its coming was heralded not by the wails of children or the echo of white supremacist gun fire - nor the mendacious fear-mongering of a presidential usurper - but by the soft tinkle of glass and restrained clatter of silver cutlery against ceramic dinnerware. Hundreds of battle-scarred donors - members, mainly, of NGO Refugees International - sat lunching at round tables in Guastavino’s, a vaulting event space integrated with the supports of said bridge’s Manhattan terminus. The event: the 16th Annual “New York Circle: Act for Refugees.” It’s guest of honor: no less an eminence than Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei, there to be interviewed by David Remnick - editor-in-chief of the New Yorker and essentially Jewish Elvis for many of the event’s attendees - and to stump for his 2017 documentary about refugees, Human Flow.

The genesis for Human Flow - one whose irony the 61-year-old artist was quick to point out - was a 2015 vacation to Lesbos Weiwei took with his son. He had gone to the sunny Greek island following a four-year stint, widely publicized and lambasted by the international community, as a prisoner of the Chinese government, here to read to full article.

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