Part 2: The Wall, Fast Food and Fellini
Walking out from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art we saw The Wall Along Wilshire, a section of the Berlin Wall installed along Wilshire Boulevard. Its presence had an unexpected resonance. It sent a clear message of the importance of public art as a vehicle of collective memories.
The Wende Museum of Culver City, the world’s largest archive of the Cold War, placed the original segments in 2009. One piece had been painted by Berlin’s street artist Bimer. Another segment was painted by the French-born, Berlin-based artist Thierry Noir, who was one of the first artists to paint on the Berlin Wall in the early 1980s. Farrah Karapetian and Marie Astrid González, two emerging artists from Los Angeles, each painted the remaining two segments. Street artists Herakut, RETNA, and D*Face painted the back of the sectionals. Herakut’s work, Good Can Come From Bad Comes From Good, symbolizes the circularity of history. It features two pregnant women crouched together in a yin-yang position. One could think about the multiple faces of the city: historic Berlin, Nazi Berlin, divided Berlin and New Berlin, dotted with signature buildings designed by architecture stars.
Turning around, the street offered a sizzling scene: diverse people of all ages moving incessantly. The presence of temporary fast-food trucks in-between the pharaonic facade of the Ahmason Building and the segment from the Berlin Wall amplified the dissonance on the site: high and low calorie art facing each other along an endless stream of cars: a living pop art reality.
Fellini came to mind:
For me, the artist is someone who is called by demons and must reply to this summons. Doing so he is cast into a kind of galaxy with which he has special, arcane relationships. The problem is to recognize the sounds, the colors, the signs that correspond to the voice that called him. Once this problem is resolved, he needs to do nothing except perform in extrasensory fashion. When I enter into this state of grace, it is not I who directs the film, but the film that directs me. A huge amount of sensitivity is always required: you have entered a city you don’t know but in which you must move with the lightness of a vampire, without ideas, ideologies, preconceptions, if not without everything. This is like the prologue, the atrium, the anteroom of creativity; only afterward do your practical experience, your craftsmanship and professionalism come in; in other words, the hard work of making creativity materialize. The artist does not do what he wants, but what he can: this tension is what constitutes art.