berlin-wall

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Keith Haring painting a mural on the Berlin Wall nearby Checkpoint Charlie on October 23, 1986.

On August 31, 1961 construction started on the Berlin Wall, tearing apart the German capital. Until its demolition in 1989, the Wall was a symbol of Soviet oppression and a literal representation of the ‘Iron Curtain’ between East and West. During the rise of the graffiti art movement in the 1980s, the West Berlin side of the Wall became a Mecca for street artists. Keith Haring, the New York artist credited with bridging the gap between the street and the gallery, was invited by the Director of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum to paint on the Wall. Haring created a 350-foot mural, intended to symbolism the solidarity of the divided peoples of Berlin.

In Haring’s words: “I decided on a subject, which is a continuous interlocking chain of human figures, who are connected at their hands and their feet – the chain obviously representing the unity of people as against the idea of the wall. I paint this in the colors of the German flag – black, red and yellow.”

Régis Bossu, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker kiss on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the German Democratic Republics, 1979
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Francesco Hayez, Il bacio. Episodio della giovinezza. Costumi del secolo XIV, 1859

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Keith Haring in front of his mural on the Berlin Wall, October 1986.

On August 31, 1961 construction started on the Berlin Wall, tearing apart the German capital. Until its demolition in 1989, the Wall was a symbol of Soviet oppression and a literal representation of the ‘Iron Curtain’ between East and West. During the rise of the graffiti art movement in the 1980s, the West Berlin side of the Wall became a Mecca for street artists. Keith Haring, the New York artist credited with bridging the gap between the street and the gallery, was invited by the Director of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum to paint on the Wall. Haring created a 350-foot mural, intended to symbolism the solidarity of the divided peoples of Berlin.

In Haring’s words: “I decided on a subject, which is a continuous interlocking chain of human figures, who are connected at their hands and their feet – the chain obviously representing the unity of people as against the idea of the wall. I paint this in the colors of the German flag – black, red and yellow.”

(Photos by Tseng Kwong Chi)

David Bowie on the day he performed "Heroes" live in Berlin on June 6th, 1987, in front of the Reichstag in Berlin:

“I will never forget that. 

It was one of the most emotional performances I’ve ever done. I was in tears.

 They backed up the stage to the wall itself so that it was acting as a backdrop. We kind of heard that a few of the East Berliners might actually get the chance to hear the thing, but we didn’t realise in what numbers they would. 

And there were thousands on the other side that had come close to the wall. So it was like a double concert, where the wall was the division. 

And we would hear them cheering and singing along from the other side. 

God, even now I get choked up. It was breaking my heart. I’ve never done anything like that in my life. And I guess I never will again.”


Originally posted by i-am-my-own-drugs