Apparently, the Berlin Wall is getting its very own mini wall, and it’s all because of tourists who can’t keep their hands — and their markers and spray cans and chipping tools — to themselves. The Art Newspaper reports that the transparent barrier will be permanent and will climb over three feet into the sky and stand about 33 inches away from the wall on both sides. The structure will be erected in summer 2018, which is a very good reason to book plane tickets to Berlin ASAP.
Since its inception in 1990, the East Side Gallery, which features historic murals by 119 artists (including that iconic Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kiss painting), has been dogged ongoing problems with tourists and other visitors vandalizing and chipping away at the structure, which is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall that remains intact.
“We have had several people arrested and taken to court, and we want to avoid this,” says Kani Alavi, who heads up the East Side Gallery’s artist initiative and whose painting It Happened In November is displayed there. “We have tried to protect it using a construction hoarding but that means you can’t see the art.”
Much of the gallery, which was made a world heritage site in 1991, was repainted by the original artists in 2009 as part of a massive $2.1 million renovation. And while it’s probably time to put some structures in place that allow for the permanence of such an historic landmark beyond the lifespans of the artists (I mean, come on, it’s not like you can walk into museums and just touch shit) it very much feels like yet another example of why we can’t have nice things.