Wall Project to close Wilshire Boulevard at midnight instead of afternoon
Instead of blocking traffic on busy Wilshire Boulevard for three afternoon hours on Sunday, Nov. 8, the Wende Museum Wall Project's public art installation "The Wall Across Wilshire" -- commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall -- will instead be temporarily constructed across Wilshire near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art shortly before midnight on Nov. 8, and will be symbolically toppled at midnight by artists who will paint on the symbolic wall.
Justinian Jampol, president and founder of the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War, said Monday that a second part of the Wall Project -- "The Wall Along Wilshire," which will stand in front of the 5900 Wilshire Building from Oct. 17-Nov. 14 -- will now be constructed of 10 newly-acquired segments of the real Berlin Wall instead of newly-fabricated replicas. Included in the installation will be an original Berlin Wall border tower, donated along with the wall segments by a Berlin resident, Thomas Goerner, who owns the property on which the segments stood.
"The Wall Along Wilshire" will be painted by artists Kent Twitchell and Thierry Noir, with a section of reserved to be painted by the public. The painted segments will become part of the Wende Museum collection.
Jampol said that the time was changed for the "Wall Across Wilshire" installation because the event was beginning to take on a "block party, street event" quality rather than a historical one. "It kept getting bigger and bigger," Jampol said. "We got calls from Roger Waters and Pink Floyd." He added that the time change makes the symbolic breakdown of the wall in Los Angeles take place at 9 a.m. in Berlin, the "real anniversary" of when the wall came down.
The time change did not happen at the request of the city, Jampol said. "I think it's fair to say they are pleased with the change ... there will be less stress on traffic, but we could have left it in the afternoon if we wanted to," he said, adding that though the event is still open to the public, at night it will be "more dramatic" and will tend to draw a smaller crowd interested in Berlin Wall history. "At the end of the day, it will be a touching ceremony to be recorded by us as a documentary."
A fund-raising event will be open to the public on the evening of Nov. 8 before the deconstruction of the "Wall Across Wilshire," with a ticket price of $250. German chanteuse Ute Lemper will perform.
-- Diane Haithman
Photo: Wende Museum director Justinian Jampol in front of a piece of the real Berlin Wall decorated by artist Thierry Noir, who painted on the original wall. Credit: Wende Museum.