The fall of the Berlin Wall goes up in Los Angeles

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The Independent Culture

The Wall Project, the largest commemoration in the US of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, will be staged in Los Angeles with segments of the real Berlin Wall along Wilshire Boulevard for public viewing, October 17-November 14.

A two-part initiative, ‘The Wall Along Wilshire" part consists of 10 original 11-foot-by-three-foot segments of the Berlin Wall with an original border tower, to be installed on Wilshire Boulevard as an outdoor gallery. These real sections were donated by Berlin resident, Thomas Goerner, who owns the property on which the segments stood.

The other component, "The Wall Across Wilshire," will stretch over one of the busiest streets in LA, near the Los Angeles County Art Museum, blocking traffic. Panels will be painted by Shepard Fairey, the graphic artist who created the iconic "Hope" poster for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Belgium's Thierry Noir is also invited to paint the wall again, recreating the faces he painted on the original in 1984. LA artist Kent Twitchell will create portraits of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, US presidents when the wall rose and fell. Public participants include students, community members, and grassroots organizations.

On November 8, a ceremony reenacting the fall of the wall will be exchanged live, between LA and Berlin with speeches, a video presentation and live music, including a performance by Ute Lemper singing her "Ghosts of Berlin." At midnight, which is 9 a.m. in Berlin, the actual historical time when the wall tumbled, it will be symbolically torn down.

The Wall Project, conceived by The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War in Los Angeles, marks the 28 years the Berlin Wall stood as a barrier separating East and West Berlin, between August 13, 1961 and November 9, 1989. It plans to record the ceremony as a documentary.

The museum preserves cultural and political objects, personal histories and documentary materials of Eastern Europe with a collection of more than 100,000 objects and archival materials, depicting everyday life behind the Iron Curtain. It also displays a 2.6 ton segment of the Berlin Wall painted by Noir.