Border Artist's Work Repeatedly Destroyed - Tucson News Now

Border Artist's Work Repeatedly Destroyed

Lauren Burgoyne KOLD NEWS 13 News Reporter

The conflict along the Mexico Border continues to stir up controversy for an east coast artist who has taken his talents to the southwest.  Neil Bernstein's sculpture, "The Golden Gates Bridge over the Troubled Border," was originally resurrected in Arivaca but was relocated after it was vandalized several times.  Bernstein's beacon for migrants once stood 40 feet tall and was intended to be a welcoming mat for people crossing the border.

"We can all make romantic art that pleases people and makes them more comfortable but art serves its purpose when it brings forth the issues of conflict and controversy," said Bernstein.

But it's more than a symbol; it once held hundreds of gallons of drinking water to help travelers replenish.  However, Bernstein says vigilantes were not welcoming of his or his work.

"They were saying.. We don't want Jews from New York here.. We don't want liberals here. This is our land the old west get the hell out of dodge."

So Bernstein packed up his art and made the move to some private property in Tombstone where his art was vandalized again. That's where his sculpture lies now in ruins. While there aren't any suspects Bernstein says he's ready to face the culprits.

"What i would say is this.. You're not accomplishing a damn thing.. Do something constructive.. Let's talk about it and a new project could emerge," said Bernstein.

While Bernstein says his work has never been destroyed, some have said he's crossed the line with his paintbrush before.

The east coast native created works after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina but it wasn't just the subject matter but the materials he used that stirred conflict. Bernstein used rubble from ground zero, human blood, and cremated ashes to get his point across.

Bernstein plans to resurrect the Golden Gates Bridge Over the Troubled Border in New Mexico, Washington D.C. and New York City.

 

 

 

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