Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei’s Minimalist Apartment in New York’s Chelsea Art District Just Hit the Market for $2 Million

Some of his artworks are part of the staging, but not part of the sale. 

Ai Weiwei's New York City home for sale. Courtesy of Compass.

The longtime New York City home of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has hit the market for $2 million

The minimalist white unit has been staged to showcase some of Weiwei’s own creations, including Dancers (ca. 1983), a black-and-white painting that emulates the style of Henri Matisse and Keith Haring. Additionally, three Marble Chair sculptures (ca. 2008), reminiscent of a chair his family held onto when exiled during his childhood, can be seen in the living room.

The living room of Ai Weiwei's Chelsea apartment. Courtesy of Compass.

The living room of Ai Weiwei’s Chelsea apartment. Courtesy of Compass.

Having designed a home for investor Christopher Tsai in upstate New York in 2019, Weiwei is looking to sell his own space because he doesn’t often visit the U.S. and prefers his dwellings in Cambridge, England, and Portugal. He’s owned the unit since 2008, when he paid about $1.7 million. The 15 years since have corresponded with a highly active period during which the artist’s international profile rose considerably. It should be noted that none of Weiwei’s artworks or belongings are part of the sale.

The bedroom in Ai Weiwei's New York home for sale. Courtesy of Compass.

The bedroom in Ai Weiwei’s New York home for sale. Courtesy of Compass.

Ai Weiwei first moved to New York City in the early 1980s to study at Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League, living in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side until 1993. The Chelsea apartment is just two blocks from Mary Boone Gallery, which represented him until it closed in 2019.

Situated in a building known as Loft 25, the sunny 1,409-square-foot condo boasts one bedroom and two full bathrooms. Other features include 12-foot ceilings, a living room area that can be transformed into an office or den, hardwood floors, an in-unit washer and dryer, and oversized windows that overlook London Terrace. 

The kitchen in Ai Weiwei's New York City, which has just hit the market for $2 million. Courtey of Compass.

The kitchen in Ai Weiwei’s New York City, which has just hit the market for $2 million. Courtey of Compass.

“What makes this space truly significant is the cubic square footage,” listing agent Kyle Blackmon, head of luxury sales at Compass, told Artnet News. “It is extremely rare for a one-bedroom to feature in excess of 1,400 square feet and 12-foot ceilings.”

“This 8th floor loft enjoys exceptional light with open city views, facing south and east,” he added. “It’s also of great value that the apartment is walking distance to many of the most important art galleries and museums in the world.”

The bathroom in Ai Weiwei's New York City residence. Courtesy of Compass.

One of two bathrooms in Ai Weiwei’s New York City residence. Courtesy of Compass.

Located at 420 West 25th Street, unit 8E is considered “an updated version of a classic Chelsea artist loft,” according to the listing.

Loft 25 also features a common rooftop deck and courtyard, as well as a movie theater, fitness center, and newly renovated hallways. The kitchen comes with a Liebherr refrigerator and freezer, as well as a Bosch dishwasher, stovetop, and oven.

Front view of Ai Weiwei's Chelsea building. Courtesy of Compass.

Front view of Ai Weiwei’s Chelsea building. Courtesy of Compass.

The nine-story building consists of 79 units and is a pre-war edifice, built in 1912. The structure also includes a 24-hour doorman, a lobby with a double-height lounge, a screening room, private storage rooms in a cellar, and sunning and entertaining facilities.


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