• U.S.

People: Nov. 3, 1986

2 minute read
Guy D. Garcia

He is probably the world’s most famous graffitist, so there is poetic — and possibly political — justice in the fact that Keith Haring would turn up writing on the world’s most infamous wall. He was in West Berlin last week to dab a chain of his cartoon-like figures on a 100-yd. stretch of the Berlin Wall next to Checkpoint Charlie. Invited by the 13th of August Working Group, which operates the West German Wall Museum, Haring chose red, yellow and black tones because the colors are found in both countries’ flags and symbolize the “coming together of the two sides, East and West, which is the opposite of what the wall is all about.” The job had to be done in two three-hour sprints, since Haring was technically trespassing and could have been arrested by East German border guards at any moment. “They had binoculars trained on me, cameras clicking practically the whole time, and then their heads appeared over the top of the wall to glare at me at point-blank range,” said Haring. “I tell you, it was a bit scary.” Not a comment to be taken lightly from someone who got his start painting in the New York City subway system.

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