Artist sues after contractors demolish his wall of cheese on Mexican border

An artist in the US who was building a wall of cheese along the US-Mexico border has begun legal action against the federal contractors that demolished it.

Cosimo Cavallaro, an Italian artist based in Los Angeles, planned to build a 1,000-foot wall out of blocks of Cotija, a Mexican hard cheese that he made and salted himself.

After beginning work in March last year, he had completed 70 feet of his creation from 400, 50-pound blocks when it was knocked down by SLSCO and Ultimate Concrete, two companies who are at work on the real border wall.

The artist is suing the contractor for violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act, private nuisance and trespass.

According to the court filing, "defendants or their employees and agents knowingly and wilfully trespassed onto the site and destroyed the Cheese Wall in October last year.

It adds: "The destruction of the Cheese Wall has caused great distress to Cavallaro. His artistic vision has been left unfulfilled. Cavallaro has been deprived of the opportunity to communicate his artistic message through the Cheese Wall – a message he has spent years contemplating – and to see the Cheese Wall, at its full length, stand in contrast to the border wall."

It adds that the aim of the wall was to make people think differently about the "Trump wall" by "considering the ephemerality of walls and the waste inherent in building any wall, whether made of cheese or steel".

Cavallaro is no stranger to food-based controversy. In March 2007, the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan cancelled the artist’s "My Sweet Lord" exhibition, featuring an anatomically correct chocolate Jesus, after angry complaints. 

Image: Cosimo Cavallaro at work on his wall (

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  1. ‘Hard Cheese’ seems appropriate here. An abuse of food stuffs that would be better employed feeding
    hungry bodies, rather than the insatiable appetite for meaningless publicity. Hardly a ‘new’ idea because ‘Walls’ have been making sausages and ice cream for decades and have not seen fit to apply them to such constructive nonsense.

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