Keith Haring painting a mural on the Berlin Wa…

Keith Haring painting a mural on the Berlin Wall nearby Checkpoint Charlie on October 23, 1986.

On August 31, 1961 construction started on the Berlin Wall, tearing apart the German capital. Until its demolition in 1989, the Wall was a symbol of Soviet oppression and a literal representation of the ‘Iron Curtain’ between East and West. During the rise of the graffiti art movement in the 1980s, the West Berlin side of the Wall became a Mecca for street artists. Keith Haring, the New York artist credited with bridging the gap between the street and the gallery, was invited by the Director of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum to paint on the Wall. Haring created a 350-foot mural, intended to symbolism the solidarity of the divided peoples of Berlin.

In Haring’s words: “I decided on a subject, which is a continuous interlocking chain of human figures, who are connected at their hands and their feet – the chain obviously representing the unity of people as against the idea of the wall. I paint this in the colors of the German flag – black, red and yellow.”