California Artist Using Expired Cheese To Build Border Wall
A California artist is helping President Trump build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. Cosimo Cavallaro, the Los Angeles-based artist, is trying to do his part in creating a “barrier”. But instead of using fencing and barbed wire, Cavallaro is using spoiled cotija cheese. Cavallaro started building a competing wall (6 feet high, made entirely of $100 cheese blocks) on Monday in Tecate, California, near the Mexico border. Now he’s asking for donations to buy more cheese slabs and make the barrier as long as possible.
The art isn’t meant to be political but rather a reaction to the current American climate when it comes to the border wall.
“To spend all this money to keep dividing the countries, I think is a waste,” Cavallaro told the Los Angeles Times. “You see the waste in my wall, but you can’t see the waste in [Trump’s] $10-billion wall, which in time will be removed?”
As well as putting together his cheese wall, Cavallaro is selling shirts to raise funds, including one showing an image of a cheese grater to make the pun “Make America Grate Again”, which is a play on President Trump’s campaign slogan.
Cavallaro says he is building the cheese structure with perishable components to show the decadent nature of material objects. It’s also to demonstrate the ludicrous purpose and meaning of the border wall.
“This has been on my mind for many years, but when he became president, it became obvious that was the place to do it.” Cavallaro said.
This isn’t the first time he’s made art out of food.
Cavallaro has worked on similar projects in the past that have included other perishable foods (cheese and chocolate) as an artistic gesture. That includes “My Sweet Lord”, a six-foot-tall, Jesus sculpted from milk chocolate and Room 114 at the Washington Jefferson Hotel in New York City, which he smothered in 1,000 lb of melted mozzarella.
“A lot of art is just an object in space. You take it, you move it, you move it here, you move it there. But when you cover a room in cheese or in ketchup or in food, you can’t rip that off anymore. That experience is so visceral, so real. And it lives in your mind. ” Cavallaro said in a video on the project’s website.
Cavallaro, who grew up in Canada and has roots in Italy, is following his previous projects theme in trying to make a statement through perishable foods. Cavallaro leased the property where he is building the project for a year and he plans to add to the wall as more donations come in.
For Cavallaro, the artwork represents how absurd and “cheesy” the time we are currently living in has become.
While the border wall continues to be a divisive issue, Cavallaro hopes this brings people together. More than $2,000 has already been raised to complete the art work and has received national attention for the project.
For those pitching in for the wall, there is also some incentive. The Gofundme page says if an individual donates $1000 they will receive “a full cheese wall brick signed and vacuum packed after the art installation is completed.”
Cavallaro hopes his project doesn’t come off as political rather an artisitc statement of how turbulent times are right now. He says he hopes he gets people involved with art to try to create something positive.
“The idea is to get people involved in building this installation,” Cavallaro told the Sacramento Bee. “It’s about borders. It’s about overcoming that boundary. I believe that as humans that’s what we’re here to experience. We come up against them, we overcome them and we keep growing.”