Louis Hock, a multi-media artist who grew up in American border towns and now lives near San Diego, California, has spent much of his career tearing walls down in one way or another.
From the late 1970s and on, he has made videos documenting the daily struggles of the Mexican immigrants who were his neighbours. In 1993, he teamed up with Elizabeth Sisco and David Avalos to offer a “tax rebate”, handing out $10 bills to Mexican day labourers in California for their unrecognised contributions to the American economy. And in 1997, he cut a hole in the steel fence bordering the Mexican city Tijuana “so that people could kiss, or hold their babies from one side to another, or exchange tacos,” he said.
This year, his critique of American xenophobia took a more architectural form: he has just finished building a massive wall inside the large lobby gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, an institution only 16 miles from Mexico.
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