Exhibition Inquisition

The stuff you look at, but don't see.

The Wall Project

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Wende Museum

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Correction: MAJOR BOULEVARD CLOSED

On the night of Sunday November 8th the Wende Museum finally presented The Wall Project.  The event commemorated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  I’ve been looking forward to this event for months and months.  I’ve been reading all the press leading up to it wondering what the final wall would look like, first the wall was going to be up all day long and then finally it was decided it would only be up for several hours.  The wall across Wilshire ran across the boulevard right in front of LACMA’s Urban Light.

The event necessitated the closure of Wilshire Boulevard, so no big deal.  The closer of one of L.A.’s major streets signified the divide between East and West Berlin caused by the Berlin Wall.  Wilshire was closed for several hours, giving crews time to construct the wall across Wilshire.  And at midnight that wall came down.

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Wall across Wilshire

Also part of the project was the wall along Wilshire.  This wall had been installed since earlier on in October and remained there for a few weeks after the main event.  This wall was made up of ten pieces of the actual Berlin wall and is the largest section of the wall outside of Germany.

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Sister cities

Official installation video:

When I arrived at the event people were surrounding this wall, in a way that surprised me.  Large lights had been set up along the wall to illuminate it brightly.  People were standing in front of the wall to take pictures, and the flashbulbs were going off like it was a paparazzi event.  The whole scene reminded me of a red carpet, but I guess this is L.A.

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Is this a red carpet event? I did see Sandra Oh there.

After taking some of my own photos of my friends it was time to go see the wall across Wilshire.  This wall was not made from the actual Berlin wall, but was constructed out of wood and Styrofoam bricks.

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Ost (East) - Side of the wall across Wilshire

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...and West-side of the wall across Wilshire

On the front of the wall artist had created murals on the various section.  Shepard Fairey, and other professional artists, as well as art students from several L.A. schools had decorated the panels of the wall across Wilshire.

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Shepard Fairey portion of the wall, my hot little hands couldn’t resist

Thierry Noir was notably involved in the project; he was one of the first artists to paint on the Berlin Wall.  Part of his work was featured in the wall along Wilshire, and he was also invited to decorate a segment of the wall across Wilshire.

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Thierry Noir on the wall across Wilshire

The need for a bathroom dragged me away from the wall across.  A private event for the Wende Museum was happening in 5900 Wilshire (the Variety building).  Directly outside of this event a replica of a section of the Berlin wall was set up.  Sharpie markers were provided for anyone to write messages or sketch doodles on this section of wall.

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Wall comments

Some people simply signed their names, other wrote political messages.  While I was standing in this crowd I realized that the majority of the people there were German.

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This guy was probably German.

The festivities were starting (around 11:15) so I decided to head back to the wall across.

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Germans and Non-Germans gathering.

Significantly more people had gathered, people of all ages, many were my age which was interesting since none of us were alive, or are old enough to remember the fall of the actual Berlin wall.  This is why this event was so meaningful to me, because it served as an event to replace a memory of a historically important event I don’t personally have.

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Seeing East and West / actually North/South

A documentary style video was on the TV monitors showing the fall of the original wall.  Then the presentations started.  Frank Mottek introduced all of the speakers for the night beginning with a broadcast from the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit.

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Mr. Mayor live, all the way from Berlin

Tom Labonge from the city spoke and made some lame jokes about his efforts to get Wilshire closed off.

Then Ute Lemper was introduced.  She certainly was something, but her speech about her experience living with the wall was very touching.

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A real-life chanteuse

The chanteuse performer only had time to sing two songs before the wall was scheduled to come toppling down. A short while after midnight several people from the Wende Museum and some of the participating artists pulled down a central section of the wall.  This central section was made up of Styrofoam bricks with a thin layer of paper onto which the painting had been done.

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Wall across Wilshire, going, going, gone.

People starting throwing the bricks into the air, their silhouettes dancing created quite a dazzling moment.  Then people started attacking the wall trying to get their own souvenirs.  Opps the rest of the wall across Wilshire was supped to be auctioned off.  I may have gotten a portion of the Shepard Fairey section…

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Some cops were sent out to keep us from completely tearing down the wall.

A Sunday night extremely well spent.

– H.I.

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One Response

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  1. Great site! Thanks for the reviews. I agree with you about the Peter Shelton works and the way they are placed. It seems like the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing. The pieces just won an award.
    I will have to go downtown and take a look. There is no one there on Sundays.

    Lauri Garber

    June 26, 2010 at 4:43 AM


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