Berlin Wall by Roger Nelson, Marilyn Lindstrom, Ta-coumba Aiken & Others

Berlin Wall by Roger NelsonBerlin Wall by Roger NelsonBerlin Wall by Roger NelsonBerlin Wall by Roger NelsonBerlin Wall by Roger NelsonBerlin Wall by Roger Nelson

Designed by Roger Nelson and painted by Nelson, Marilyn Lindstrom, Ta-coumba Aiken and others in 1978, “Berlin Wall” is one of the most intriguing and unknown murals in the Twin Cities. It’s painted on the back of the K-Mart on Lake Street and a full view of the mural is obscured by trees and a chain link fence.

Oddly enough, it’s a protest mural painted on the very building the mural protests. The mural depicts a man closing a door and walking away in various panels, interrupted by images of a battleship, its guns turned towards the viewer. The symbolic imagery reflects the neighborhood angst over an economic development project that went south, forcing the city to accept K-Mart’s demands to build on top of Nicollet Avenue. Allowing a mural on the north wall had been a concession from K-Mart, though they clearly paid little attention to the content of the mural.

“The businessman in the panels represents Kmart and its allies,” Lindstrom told the Twin Cities Daily Planet in 2008. “As you follow the mural from left to right, you see him closing a door on the neighborhood—which is represented by a battleship symbolic of the struggle over the store’s construction.”

Lindstrom and Aiken refurbished the mural in the 1990s, though it needs attention again today. However, refurbishment has taken a backseat as Mayor R.T. Rybak has called for the reopening of Nicollet Avenue.

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