'Cheese Wall' artist settles lawsuit with U.S.-Mexico border contractors
- Related documents
- Artist created "Cheese Wall" to comment on U.S.-Mexico border wall
- Lawsuit accused contractors of purposely destroying work
(Reuters) - An artist who built a six-foot-tall wall of cheese near the U.S.-Mexico border has settled his lawsuit against two government contractors he accused of destroying his work, according to a filing in San Diego federal court.
Italian-Canadian artist Cosimo Cavallaro sued construction companies SLSCO Ltd and Ultimate Concrete LLC in 2020 for allegedly bulldozing his "Cheese Wall," which he built as a comment on then-President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.
Cavallaro and the contractors told U.S. District Judge William Hayes on Monday that they had settled the dispute. The judge canceled a final pretrial conference scheduled for later this month.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Attorneys for the parties declined to comment.
Cavallaro began work on the "Cheese Wall" in 2018, according to the lawsuit. The sculpture was built from dried bricks of Cotija cheese on private land in San Diego County, California.
Cavallaro said he meant the work to encourage viewers to consider "the waste inherent in building any wall, whether made of cheese or steel." He planned for the wall to eventually be 1,000 feet long.
SLSCO and Ultimate Concrete were hired by the federal government to work on the border wall near the site of Cavallaro's sculpture. Cavallaro said the contractors knew the sculpture was an art installation and dismantled it in 2019, leaving metal slats used for the border wall at the site.
The contractors denied the allegations in court filings.
Cavallaro accused the contractors of violating the Visual Artists Rights Act, a rarely litigated law that protects works of "recognized stature" from being distorted, modified, mutilated or destroyed.
Two artists who created several works at the Manhattan Detention Complex in New York won an order Friday under VARA that temporarily blocked plans to remove their art before the jail's demolition.
The case is Cavallaro v. SLSCO Ltd, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, No. 3:20-cv-02157.
For Cavallaro: Luis Li of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Kelly Klaus of Munger Tolles & Olson
For SLSCO: Sean Sullivan of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch
For Ultimate Concrete: Thomas Balestreri of Balestreri Potocki & Holmes
(NOTE: This story has been updated with additional counsel information for Cavallaro.)
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