Behind the Berlin Wall

Behind the Berlin Wall
5900 Wilshire Boulevard
November 13, 2011

As a part of The Wende Museum’s SURVEILLANCE PROJECT, Behind the Berlin Wall brings together street artists from Los Angeles, London, and Berlin to interpret the role of surveillance in our lives from the Cold War until today. The murals by Retna, D*Face, and artist duo Herakut, cover nine segments belonging to the ‘east side’ of the original Berlin Wall – the side that faced the East German death strip and was never painted. In keeping with the Wall’s original function as an organic, ever-changing site for art happenings, these artists offer a commentary on the eroding space of the private individual operating in a public place that uses technology as an agent of social control.

In order to preserve the segments and to prevent moisture from rusting the Wall’s metal inner skeleton, a special water-resistant primer has been applied and the artists’ paints provide an additional protective coating. With continued care, The Wende Museum’s Berlin Wall segments will remain a historical and vibrant outdoor canvas connecting contemporary issues with significant historic events that impacted the globe – the East German peaceful revolution, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the end of the Cold War.

An art installation in the lobby of 5900 Wilshire Boulevard was comprised of original surveillance and communication equipment from the Soviet and East and West German Secret Police. Some of these machines were activated, turned on for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

Presented in partnership with The Ratkovich Company, Virgin Atlantic, Los Angeles Magazine, LA Inc., The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Los Angeles, The British Council, Oliver’s Café, Bar-B-Que Express, Montana and Golden Paints.

November 14, 2011

Three short films by JR, an internationally known French artist and photographer and the 2011 TED Prize winner, were screened in the Brown Theater at LACMA, directly across the street from the Wende Museum’s Berlin Wall and Surveillance Installations. Wrinkles in the City, Inside out Episode 1 and Women Are Heroes present the creative power of JR, who combines art and action to show commitment, freedom, identity and its limits in society. These films reference the theme of surveillance in our lives -- then and now. Also premiered was “Across/The Wall,” a video by Brian Davis, about The Wende Museum’s outdoor art installation of reproductions of Russian portraits that are part of Los Angeles’ Downtown Art Walk.

This event was co-sponsored by LACMA and the French Government.