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A Historical Perspective

Photographed in May of 1989, this collection has been acclaimed as the last and most complete record of the social, political, and artistic expressions of the wall surrounding the city of West Berlin.

The wall itself started as an overnight barbed wire creation in August of 1961. It resulted from the constant disputes of the “East” and “West” over the status of Allied occupied Berlin and Germany. It came to symbolize the Cold War and was the most “concrete” expression of the Iron Curtain that existed throughout the period. It evolved into the sophisticated security system of concrete walls, electric fences, guard towers, and no-man’s land depicted in the photographs.
The art of the wall was a product of the eighties when the wall was reconstructed with prefabricated concrete slabs 14 feet high. This provided a perfect canvas for the artists of the dynamic international community of West Berlin. The artists were soon joined by the multitude of visitors to the wall in creating the potpourri of art, graffiti, and messages for which the wall became the focus. The resulting colorful expressions on the West side of the wall were in sharp contrast to the East’s sterile ramparts and came to symbolize the differences of the separate societies.

On one side the free expression of the open society of West Berlin, while on the other was the blank walls of the repressed society that was East Berlin.

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