At James Cohan Gallery, Jorge Méndez Blake Builds a Wall -ARTnews

Jorge Méndez Blake’s wall installation at James Cohan Gallery.


As President Trump’s evening television appearance—in which he will attempt to make a case for the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border—looms, Mexican artist Jorge Méndez Blake has installed his own wall at James Cohan Gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood.

The site-specific brick structure is part of the space’s upcoming “Borders” exhibition, which spans the gallery’s two New York locations and also features works by Byron Kim, Sol LeWitt, Yinka Shonibare CBE, and Hank Willis Thomas, among others.

Méndez Blake has embedded a copy of Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel The Man Who Disappeared (published posthumously as Amerika) in the base of wall. The book chronicles the experiences of a young man who emigrates from Europe to New York, and gallery owner James Cohan told ARTnews that its position in the installation “changes the geometry of the bricks” and causes a “ripple effect.”

“The meaning of a wall is really defined by the people who are confronting it,” Cohan said.

He went on to say that the impetus for the exhibition came from “the fascination with borders as a psychological and political and formal construct, and how those things can become intermingled within both the art world and the real world.”

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