• Attending Limits: The Constitution and Upkeep of the US–Mexico Border
    Nathan Friedman
    WUHO, Los Angeles
    Nov 09, 2017 to Nov 26, 2017
    Bibliowicz Gallery, Cornell University, Ithaca
    Mar 06, 2019 to Apr 11, 2019
    Nathan Friedman

Nathan Friedman, film still from Proof of the Line, 2015, a reconstruction of the late nineteenth-century documentary photographs of D. R. Payne. Courtesy of the artist.

277 obelisk monuments mark the US–Mexico boundary line. Constructed in three distinct phases (1849–1856, 1891–1912, and 1964–1968), these monuments were the product of territorial negotiations, disputes that were settled ranging from the violent expansion of sovereign limits to the shifting course of a historic boundary river. Commissioned, inscribed, and placed by both the United States and Mexico, they served as unique bilateral artifacts that operated across and reflected on separate territories, forms of settlement, and philosophies of nationhood. Attending Limits: The Constitution and Upkeep of the US–Mexico Border presents the international boundary through a history of its material artifacts and the modes of representation they have motivated. Through the display of original text, animation, photographs, scale models, and maps, the exhibition theoretically frames an evolution of the US–Mexico border from single line to geopolitical territory.

Nathan Friedman is cofounder of Departamento del Distrito, a new design-research practice based in Mexico City, and adjunct professor of architecture at Universidad Iberoamericana. His research linking architectural theory and geography has been recently published in MAS Context and Scapegoat, and will be featured in the upcoming issue of Manifest, "Bigger than Big." He is a former editor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Thresholds, and has previously worked for Eisenman Architects, SMAQ Berlin, and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam, focusing on a contemporary art museum in the heart of Moscow's Gorky Park. Friedman holds an MS from the Department of History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art at MIT and a BArch from Cornell University.