German Artists Claim Credit for White Flags on Brooklyn Bridge

Image: German Artists Claim Credit for White Flags on Brooklyn Bridge A white flag flies on the Brooklyn Bridge on July 22. (Andrew Gombert/EPA/Landov)

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 06:35 AM

By Greg Richter

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Two German artists have claimed credit for the two white flags that replaced American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City in July, The New York Times reported.

Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke told the Times they hand-stitched the flags from pieces of white contrasting material. Some had speculated that they were bleached-out American flags because they had 13 stripes and 50 stars.

They say they climbed up the bridge using the same cables used by police and workers. They say they respectfully folded the American flags according to protocol.

The white flags were intended as a type of burial shroud tribute to the bridge's engineer, the German-born John Roebling, who died on July 22, 1869 and his son Washington, who took over the project from his father. Washington Roebling died on July 21, 1926.

The flags appeared overnight between July 21 and 22.

The men say they have made similar art installations in the past and didn't cause as much concern.

"Few people would care if we did the same thing in Berlin," Leinkauf told the Times. "Of course, we did not have the same problems with terrorism.”"

Wermke said that Roebling "moved to the States because he couldn’t realize his dreams here in Germany, and the bridge for us is a symbol of freedom and creative opportunity."

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