Scenes across the Berlin Wall, and a story about female graffiti artists, with thanks to Paul Steege

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

There is no sound in this video shot across the Berlin Wall in 1971. There doesn't have to be. The faces here say it all, the blown kisses, the raised binoculars, the East Germans who do not wish to leave the friends they spot in the West across the many walls, the many divisions.

This is chilling, heartbreaking, telling, historic, and I have my friend Paul Steege, writer and historian at Villanova University, to thank for sharing it with me.

Paul also sent along a link to this Julia Baird New York Times story about the rise of female graffiti artists around the world, which ran earlier this week. The story is fascinating, end to end, and begins like this:

For decades it was thought that the reason street art was almost exclusively male was because men were more comfortable with peril; many sought it. After all, street art is notoriously dangerous, exhilarating and risky.

It is, of course, usually illegal; many street artists work at night, in wigs or masks, wearing shoes made for running. One night, when the Australian artist Vexta, who is now based in Brooklyn, was painting neon-splattered, psychedelic images in an abandoned building with friends, the police arrived. She jumped through a hole in the wall, rolled under a shutter door and ran down the street to hail a cab. No one would pick her up, since she was smeared with dirt and paint.
 Ada, I think, as I read. Ada (Going Over). She might have been Vexta. She might still be.


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