Lindy Annis | Jonathan Borofsky | Chuck D | Frank Day | Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g. lab | Ron English | Allen Frame | Leonard Freed | Nan Goldin | Keith Haring | Ollie Harrington | Carol Highsmith | James Huckenpahler | Allan Kaprow | Farrah Karapetian | Nilay Lawson | Adrian Piper | Stephanie Syjuco | Shinkichi Tajiri | Bill Van Parys and Reyes Melendez | Lawrence Weiner

Curated by Paul M. Farber,
Postdoctoral Writing Fellow at Haverford College

During the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was the world's most notorious line of demarcation. The fortified city border not only separated East and West Germany, but also surrounded the allied zones of West Berlin, including its American sector. Hundreds of American artists felt compelled to visit and produce work inspired by their encounters on both sides of the city. Even in the shadows of its stark border, the divided city of Berlin was a major focal point of cultural exchange between Germans and Americans.

Identifying sometimes as expatriates, sometimes as Berliners, American artists have time and again returned to the Wall to ponder political borders worldwide and social boundaries back in the United States. When viewed collectively, a creative tradition emerges: artists engage the Berlin Wall as an evolving site and symbol for American culture.

This practice continues to generate layered perspectives on freedom and repression, even after the demise of the Wall as a formidable border in 1989. Select contemporary artists weigh the afterlife of the Wall with a resilient critical and creative eye, producing projects that consider the monumental nature of the Wall’s ruins and the “new walls” around the world. Such works complicate the routine treatment of former Wall pieces as self-evident historical relics and highly-priced art objects.

The Goethe-Institut in Washington D.C will present the exhibition, The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall, to commemorate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and reflect upon this legacy of division in American culture. This exhibition sheds light on critical American artistic perspectives of the Berlin Wall from 1961 through the present, foregrounding artworks that confront social boundaries in the U.S., as well as the complex historical crossroads of Berlin.

With generous support from the following institutions:
Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation | Getty Research Institute
Haverford College Center for Peace and Global Citizenship
Keith Haring Foundation | Magnum Photos | Provisions Library
Savannah College of Art and Design | Library of Congress | The Wende Museum