Looking for the ultimate artist’s flat, perhaps one owned by an internationally renowned master? Look no further than this high-floor condo in the Loft 25 building in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The 1,400-square-foot minimalist-minded pied-à-terre is owned by Chinese contemporary artist, documentarian, and activist Ai Weiwei.
Through sculptures, photographs, and public works, Ai explores Chinese culture while dissenting strongly from the current regime. His work has been such a provocative thorn in the government’s eye, they bulldozed his Shanghai studio in 2011 and imprisoned him the same year for 81 days.
The Portugal-based artist’s Manhattan crash pad is currently staged with several pieces of his work, including “Dancers,” a black-and-white painting from 1983 that evokes Henri Matisse and Keith Haring, and three of his “Marble Chair” sculptures, shaped like classic Chinese chairs from the artist’s childhood. The artworks are not included in the apartment sale!
While the apartment is arguably somewhat smallish for someone of Ai’s stature, the 12-foot ceilings give an airy feeling and there’s certainly plenty of room to stimulate and relax the creative mind. Clean lines, hardwood floors and large south-facing windows with views of the London Terrace apartment complex characterize the space. There’s just one bedroom, but there are two full bathrooms, as well as an alcove off the living room that can easily be made into a home office or meditation nook. The kitchen is outfitted with a Liebherr refrigerator and freezer, and a Bosch dishwasher, stovetop and oven. And, there’s an in-unit washer and dryer. (Don’t laugh, suburbanites, it makes a huge difference in a Manhattan apartment.)
Built in 1912, Loft 25 contains 79 units. There’s a 24-hour doorman, a lobby with an adjacent double-height lounge, a rear garden courtyard with reflecting pool, a screening/conference room, a gym, a landscaped roof deck with river views, and private storage rooms in the cellar.
Acquired by Ai in 2008 for about $1.7 million, the art world pedigreed pad is available through Kyle Blackmon at Compass at $2 million.