The artistic integrity of the Wall's East Side Gallery has been lost.
The photographic images featured in "The Art of the Wall" exhibit were shot in 2006, before the original murals that had been painted on the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall were removed by authorities.
Shortly after these images were shot, Berlin officials made the decision to use public funds to restore the gallery in time for a 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Wall. But the controversial tourist-driven renovation soon became a complete overhaul.
Click the images at right for a timeline and the names and countries of origin of the East Side Gallery artists.
All of the original murals that comprised the East Side Gallery were removed using steam and the underlying concrete restored. The 1990 works -- and the years of graffiti that time-stamped them -- were forever lost. The original artists (those able to be located) were given the opportunity to repaint their sections of the Wall.
Of the murals that were recreated, a special varnish has been applied to facilitate the removal of any future graffiti. This effectively brings to a halt the long-standing practice of visitors adding their own commentary, and instead ensures the works will remain in a perpetually sanitized state.
One of the original works that was erased was the iconic mural depicting Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev kissing his East German counterpart, Erich Honecker. The work's creator was enraged to learn about his mural's destruction after the fact but ultimately capitulated and agreed to repaint it. In 2009 he told SPIEGEL ONLINE: "But now it will be a new picture. I can't simply repeat my first painting."
"The Art of the Wall" photographic series strives to capture the spirit of this unique public art, and the passion of the world community's response to it (in the form of graffiti). The exhibit can be seen as a kind of time capsule of a critical moment in history.
Following is some of the most-viewed footage marking the euphoria after the fall of the Wall:
The first video (subtitled), shot on the evening of November 9, 1989, captures the emotion of East Berliners overwhelming border crossing guards at Bornholmer Strasse, the night the gates were first opened to the West some 38 years after the Wall was erected. The second video shows David Hasselhoff singing "Looking for Freedom," his number-one hit on the German pop charts, in his performance atop the Berlin Wall on New Year's Eve, 1989.