This work is part of the series Public Record, which Weist made during a residency with the New York City Department of Records and Information Services. Weist scoured the Municipal Archives for information about the city’s relationship to artists and the role artists have played in civic life over the past century, using multicolored retrieval slips and archival materials to create collages. In the artist’s words, this body of work “reimagines publicly released information as a form of public space and a potential site for public art.”
Demonstration features documentation of instances when the government surveilled artists, including in 1969, when undercover NYPD officers infiltrated an Art Workers’ Coalition protest at MoMA. With this work, Weist questions the systems through which we gather information and enforces government accountability. Because these photographs were produced using government resources, they are classified as official government records that are subject to regulations and freely accessible through the city’s public archive.
Gallery label from 2023