Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Berlin Wall in Battery Park

In 1982, French artist Thierry Noir moved to West Berlin, chasing the music scene created when David Bowie and Iggy Pop moved to the German city. Over the course of the years, he began illegally painting the western side of the ominous wall that separated the Berlin he knew, from the Communist East, being the first to start the tradition of painting the wall in order to “demystify it.” as he says. Working quickly, Thierry painted sections with his large simplistic, colorful “Big Heads”, which could be painted quickly under cover. His miles of pieces, which break down into 8′ x 12′ sections that are over 2 tonnes each, are the most recognizable and have survived best since the wall came down in 1989.


One inner piece that was used to keep East Germans from escaping (that was not far from where I lived between Potsdamer Platz and Liepziger Platz) was given to Battery Park by the German Consulate in 2004, where it still sits at Kowsky Plaza. Another larger piece of Noir’s is also in Midtown. I find it kind of powerful that these fragments that once divided a city have made their way to us, and when I look at them I feel they have a sort of hopeful energy, despite the fact that they represent years of repression and isolation.

After writing about his midtown piece, Noir reached out to me, which I found to be a total honor.

Side note, my friend Beau Stanton has recently painted a section of the wall that is on display near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.

Who: Thierry Noir

What: Piece of Berlin Wall

Where: Kowsky Plaza, 385 S End Ave

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