Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roadside Attraction: Berlin Wall with Graffiti - New York, NY

Interesting Places I've Photographed
Berlin Wall With Historical Graffiti
New York, NY
Topic: Roadside Attraction, Graffiti

GPS: N40° 45.611 W073° 58.494

Quick Description: 

Graffiti, spanning five concrete slabs of the Berlin Wall, are located in a pocket park on the north side of E. 53rd Street west of Madison Avenue in Manhattan

Long Description:

Five original graffiti painted concrete slabs from the Berlin Wall are on display. Noted graffiti artists Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny painted the garish images of large heads on this section of the wall while it was the Communist built barrier between East and West Germany. Thierry Noir's is responsible for the left section and Kiddy Citny the right section.

Since the collapse of the Communist regime in East Germany, the wall was dismantled and parts, such as these, have been donated and sold around the world. There is a fascinating history behind the highly sought graffiti artwork that appears on the wall.

In the early 1980's simple graffiti including political slogans, began to appear on the wall. Then graffiti artists such as Thierry and Citny added their hastily drawn paintings, mostly of large human heads. Painting graffiti, or just being near the wall, was absolutely prohibited. So, Thierry and Citny had to quickly complete their work while the East German guards were not looking.

The artists were not trying to beautify the wall. Because so many were killed trying to get over the Berlin wall to escape to West Berlin, to them, the wall would always be ugly. Instead, they were performing a revolutionary act. By painting graffiti on the Berlin wall they meant to transform it, to make it ridiculous, and to help to destroy it.

Today, the Berlin wall graffiti of Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny have become sought after symbols of the freedom achieved after the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War.

A small brass sign next to the wall is inscribed:

Artists: Thierry Noir - Kiddy Citny
these five original sections of the
Berlin Wall marked the border between
East Berlin and West Berlin from
1961 - 1989

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