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Harold Mendez, Margarita (detail), 2016, batting-helmet foam, broken glass, dried foliage, feathers, steel, 81 × 12 × 12"

Harold Mendez

PATRON

Harold Mendez, Margarita (detail), 2016, batting-helmet foam, broken glass, dried foliage, feathers, steel, 81 × 12 × 12"

Harold Mendez’s American Pictures, 2016, consists of one gridded industrial mat, sprayed with a fine layer of enamel paint and laid flat on the floor, against which another painted mat is propped at a perpendicular angle, creating a sort of stage for the work’s focal point: a tree trunk impaled on a wrought-iron rod. The gnarled trunk has been covered, almost beyond recognition, with wine-red powder made from the crushed bodies of cochineal insects, while white carnation petals have been sprinkled on the base of the construction. White carnations are used by indigenous Mexicans to commemorate the dead—but whose funeral were these intended for? One’s immediate impression of the ambiguously figurative shape, too small to be an adult body, was nonetheless of a torso, perhaps the charred remainder of an unspeakably gruesome act. Yet on closer inspection one was struck by the

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