Carol Highsmith, a photographer and author, documents prominent sites around the United States with high-resolution digital images. She collectively builds them into a large, open-access archive for the Library of Congress. Her images of the Wende Museum’s The Wall Project highlight one of the most prominent U.S. Cold War sites of memory. In this undertaking, the Wende Museum worked with city officials to curate a sequenced public display of segments of the Berlin Wall along Wilshire Boulevard, one of L.A.’s busiest thoroughfares. The Wall Project is located between Ogden and Spaulding Avenues, across from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in a privately controlled, publicly utilized space.
The Wende Museum offers newfound perspectives through creative programming and a coordinated repainting of the Wall pieces on both sides. The museum treats the pieces of the Wall not as static monuments or memorials, but as points of reflection and action. Recently, a panel was repainted to include an honorific display to late South African leader Nelson Mandela. Highsmith’s work signals to viewers the fact that numerous segments of the Berlin Wall, including these pieces along Wilshire Boulevard, have been notably incorporated into the monumental landscape of American public space.