Twenty five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transformation of a mile-long section into an inspiring and unconventional work of public art, dubbed the “East Side Gallery,” a series of stunning photographs are now on view that capture the best of what remained of the original works before recent renovation efforts.
"The Art of the Wall,” an installation of prints by Chicago-based visual artist and filmmaker Gar Hoover, will be on exhibit at a symposium marking the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall at the University of Virginia, Nov. 3-9, in tandem with the 2014 Virginia Film Festival.
The prints, digitally remastered from images shot in 2006, breathe new life into the political murals and the accompanying graffiti on the east side of the longest surviving stretch of the Wall, often referred to as the largest outdoor gallery in the world.
Twenty-four extra large prints from the Art of the Wall series, each six feet high, will receive an outdoor installation to surround the famed University of Virginia Rotunda, designed by Thomas Jefferson and one of only three modern man-made sites in the United States to be internationally protected and preserved as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (the other two are the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall). The series has previously been exhibited in galleries and other venues in Chicago.
“Shortly after the Wall fell, more than a hundred artists from around the world came together and transformed what was once a symbol of oppression into a symbol of freedom,” says Hoover of the murals that subsequently suffered the devastating effects of time, weather and vandalism. “My goal was to bring back — through selective enhancement — the color, vibrancy and emotion those works originally expressed, while keeping intact the public’s euphoric response to the art.”
The body of prints strive to bring these stirring images to a broader audience, few of whom have visited the Wall or plan to in their lifetimes, Hoover continued. “Even if they do, the art that once constituted the East Side Gallery — which lost much of its artistic character when it was recreated in time for the Fall of the Wall's 20th anniversary — will most likely have vanished.”
The November exhibit, part of a week-long program of lectures, films, exhibits and performances, is expected to be a milestone celebration of art and freedom. Visit the series shop on Etsy.