A Brick 'Lattice' on the Roof
4. September 2020
All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects
Lattice Detour, Mexican artist Héctor Zamora's site-specific installation for the Cantor Roof Garden at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a porous brick wall that clearly confronts political issues while also recalling a controversial icon of public art.
Zamora's Lattice Detour was partially installed in March, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed its completion until late August, when The Met reopened alongside many of the city's other museums. Although President Trump's (mis)handling of the pandemic, then and since, is overshadowing his controversial border wall — as are the Black Lives Matter protests and the 2020 election — the US/Mexico border wall is still a heated issue.
Certainly Zamora's 100-foot-long, 11-foot-tall wall made from hollow terra cotta bricks references the president's new border wall, whose steel slats allow views across the barrier. But the curving installation also recalls Richard Serra's infamous Tilted Arc, which was installed by the federal government on Jacob Javits Plaza in Lower Manhattan in 1981 but was removed in 1989 after a federal judge who didn't like the artwork successfully boycotted for its removal.
Just as the 120-foot-long Tilted Arc was unloved by the judge and other detractors, Trump's border wall is hated by many people, but for quite different reasons. Zamora's conceptual blending of the border wall and Serra's weathered steel sculpture results in a thing of beauty, something that should be seen, if possible, before it's removed after December 7, 2020.