THE BERLIN WALL ON WILSHIRE
Walking down Wilshire Boulevard with Drew, I could not have been more proud to wear my “I <3 LA” shirt. The SAG-AFTRA building! The La Brea Tar Pits! The urban light installation of LACMA! Original pieces of the Berlin Wall! Yes, you read that correctly.
In front of 5900 Wilshire Boulevard (The 32 story SBE Entertainment Group Building) stands ten pieces of the Berlin Wall. It is the largest stretch of the original Berlin wall outside of Germany. We both could not help but stop and stare for a few minutes. Then Drew may or may not have tried to climb it. Anyways. Since it’s construction on August 13th, 1961 until it’s demolition on November 9th, 1989, the Berlin wall was the defining symbol of the Cold War.
So, how did it get all the way to Los Angeles? A plaque posted on the first panel of the wall gave an explanation: “The Wall Along Wilshire was assembled in 2009 as a component of The Wall Project, the Museum’s public art initiative commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Wende Museum invited L.A-based artists Kent Twitchell, Farrah Karapetian and Marie Astrid Gonzalez to participate in the project and paired the with French-born, Berlin Based muralist Thierry Noir who was one of the first artists to paint on the Berlin Wall in 1984. Through their participation, the installation recalls the outdoor “Eastside Gallery” in Berlin, made famous by the international artists whose collective intervention transformed the Berlin Wall into a canvas reflecting real and imagined divisions. The last four segments contain original graffiti from Cold War Era Berlin, including an iconic image of Bimer’s green bear. The Wall Along Wilshire is a part of The Wende Museum’s permanent collection.”
After walking around the wall, I came back to the front while Drew did his amazing photography and stood for a moment to take it all in. I heard two people come and stand behind me. They captured my thoughts exactly:
“Did you know this is part of the original Berlin Wall?"
“What?! No. No.…no way!! Wow…that’s SO cool!”