Last Tuesday, November 10th, a group of students gathered in White Plaza to mourn the 20th anniversary of what is widely considered one of the greatest modern losses of the graffiti-tagging community: the tearing-down of the Berlin Wall.
The Berlin Wall, erected in 1961, began as an 11-foot tall blank canvas that stretched across the entire city. Over its 28-year life, the wall accumulated layers upon layers of artistic and eye-catching graffiti until it was torn down in an effort led by President Ronald Reagan, who famously decried, “Tear down this wall. It just looks kind of tacky, guys.”
Neither before nor since has a government destroyed a public graffiti project of the same scope. Said one of the participants in the gathering, Cindy Wells ‘12, “It really was a tragic loss. What do we have today that even comes close? Writing on a blog? Twitter? Give me a break.”
Though 20 years have passed since the wall was torn down, many of Tuesday’s participants echoed the sentiment that, even today, graffiti artists are still subject to criticism by conservative pricks who just don’t understand their art.