The Wall in Our Heads:
American Artists and the Berlin Wall

The Wall in Our Heads:
American Artists and the Berlin Wall

Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College

Leonard Freed, American Soldiers Stand Guard as the Berlin Wall is Put Up, 1961. Brigitte Freed/Magnum Photos.
September 24, 2015
The Wall in Our Heads:American Artists and the Berlin Wall

October 23–December 13, 2015

Opening and keynote conversation: Friday, October 23, 4:30–7:30pm
With Michael Kimmelman (New York Times) and Paul M. Farber (Haverford College)

Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery
Haverford College
370 Lancaster Avenue
Haverford, PA 19041
Hours: Monday–Friday 11am–5pm,
Saturday–Sunday noon–5pm, Wednesday until 8pm

T +610 896 1287

The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall commemorates the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Germany and reflects on legacies of division in American culture. The exhibition features critical American artistic perspectives of the Berlin Wall from 1961 through the present, including artworks that confront social boundaries in the United States as well as the complex historical crossroads of Berlin.

The exhibition features 23 artists including Adrian Piper, Jonathan Borofsky, Chuck D, Nan Goldin, Keith Haring, and Allan Kaprow. The Wall in Our Heads is curated by Paul M. Farber, Postdoctoral Writing Fellow, Haverford College.

During the Cold War, divided Berlin became a global epicenter of ideological conflict, military occupation, and artistic expression. Hundreds of American artists visited Berlin and produced work on both sides of the Wall. Even in the shadows of its stark boundaries, the city served as a conduit for cultural exchange, especially for Americans who approached the Wall to understand its division as both a physical and a social construction. Despite the dismantling of the Wall in 1989, historical memory of this divide continues to generate layered perspectives on freedom and repression today. Contemporary artists consider the afterlife of the Wall with critical and creative eyes, producing projects that consider its monumental ruins and other “new walls” around the world. These projects complicate the popular treatment of the material remains of the Wall, which are frequently presented as self-evident historical relics and highly priced art objects. Whether based in Berlin or elsewhere, these artists have used a variety of media to craft imagined “wall pieces” that refer to or refashion border fragments as vehicles for critical thought. Through documentation or performance, relic or replica, remix or ruin, their works continue to draw us closer to the Berlin Wall.

Lindy Annis, Alexandra Avakian, Jonathan Borofsky, Chuck D, Frank Hallam Day, Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab, Ron English, Allen Frame, Leonard Freed, Nan Goldin, Keith Haring, Oliver Harrington, Carol Highsmith, James Huckenpahler, Allan Kaprow, Farrah Karapetian, Nilay Lawson, Oliver Miller, Adrian Piper, Stephanie Syjuco, Shinkichi Tajiri, Bill Van Parys and Reyes Melendez, and Lawrence Weiner.

The Wall in Our Heads is accompanied by a monograph designed by Ellen Gould with contributions by curator Paul M. Farber, historian Hope M. Harrison, and artist Jonathan Borofsky.

Public programs
Public conversation with Michael Kimmelman, chief architecture critic, The New York Times, and Paul M. Farber, curator of The Wall in Our Heads and Postdoctoral Writing Fellow, Haverford College
Friday, October 23, 4:30–5:30pm; Opening reception 5:30–7:30pm
Sharpless Auditorium, Haverford College

“You Are Entering the American Sector: Shinkichi Tajiri, Sculpture in Exile, and the Reconstruction of the Berlin Wall”
Paul M. Farber, Postdoctoral Writing Fellow, Haverford College
Wednesday, October 28, 12:30–1:30pm
Thomas Library 224, Bryn Mawr College Center for Visual Culture Colloquium

“Rebooting the Cold War: A Cultural Archive of Western Nostalgia and Triumphalism”
Talk by Penny Von Eschen, L. Sanford, and Jo Mills Reis, Professor of Humanities, Cornell University
Friday, November 6, noon–1pm
Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery

“Transforming Division: A Conversation on Civic Barriers and Bridges”
Roundtable with arts practitioners and educators Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez (Amber Art & Design), Jessica Solomon, MSOD (Art in Praxis), Mark Strandquist (People’s Paper Co-op/Village of Arts & Humanities), and Shira Walinksy (Southeast by Southeast/ City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program)
Thursday, December 3, 4:30–6pm
Stokes 102

Closing conversation with Prof. Dr. Axel Klausmeier, director of the Berlin Wall Foundation, and Hope M. Harrison, Associate Dean for Research, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, The Elliott School, George Washington University
Wednesday, December 9, 4:30–5:30pm
Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery


About Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery
The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall is presented by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities with the support of Haverford’s new Initiative in Ethical Engagement and Leadership.

Part of the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery aims to extend cultural literacy through the display and analysis of work across visual and material media. Envisioning exhibition spaces as active workshops for the exploration of visual culture, the Exhibitions Program partners with faculty, students, and visiting curators to design exhibitions that connect curricular interests and scholarship with contemporary artistic practice.


Press contact: Matthew Seamus Callinan, associate director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery and campus exhibitions, T +610 896 1287 or [email protected].



Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College presents The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall

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September 24, 2015

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