On October 8, 2017, the anonymous installation artist known only as JR held a picnic at an enormous table constructed on both sides of the border fence that separates the Mexican city of Tecate from Tecate, California. He had painted the table with a pair of eyes, one positioned on either side of the border.
This communal act of radical hospitality came the month after President Donald Trump had provisionally rescinded the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program that had allowed ‘Dreamers’, undocumented migrants who had entered the country as children, a path to US citizenship. As JR was organizing the picnic, Trump had renewed calls for a wall to be built along the Mexican border.
‘Hundreds of guests came from the United States and Mexico to share a meal together,’ wrote JR. ‘People gathered around the eyes of a Dreamer, eating the same food, sharing the same water, enjoying the same music (half of the band on each side). The wall was forgotten for a few moments.’ JR is known for his dramatic, epic-scale works of art, which he has installed in divided communities across the world. More of his work can be seen at jr-art.net.
I love this artwork by Cory Dugan, which is part of a series of works, all of which explore the notion of hapax legomena, words that only feature once in a certain oeuvre. Dugan’s sources include John Donne’s Holy Sonnets, the works of William Shakespeare, the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament.
I came across this amazing sculpture entitled Homeless Jesus in the April issue of Third Way.
Apparently, it has been installed with a plague featuring words from Matthew 25:40:
Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
What this picture doesn’t show is that the artist Timothy Schmalz (shown below) left room for one person to sit next to Homeless Jesus.
I have since discovered the following pictures of the sculpture in the rain and snow, which make it even more poignant.
It appears that the sculpture had to be moved from its original location because of objections by residents. One such objection is quoted in Third Way:
My complaint is not about the art-worthiness or the meaning behind the sculpture. It is about people driving into our beautiful, reasonably upscale neighborhood and seeing an ugly homeless person sleeping on a park bench.