„Tolerance is something that we need to be aware of. Tolerance can mean two things: it can mean that it accepts or that we tolerate something.”

Artist’s video, 2021

Mary Mackey was born in Sterling, Colorado, in 1959 and is a painter and photographer. She lives in Denver (United States) where she runs a gallery. Her painting “Tolerance” is an appeal for open-mindedness towards people with different backgrounds.

Mary Mackey in the interview

On her painting

Who is Mary Mackey?

The importance of tolerance

A notice in Prince magazine advertising the East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery, a total artwork

A painting for the people in Colorado

Glad not to have been moved

"The East Side Gallery is…"

Two of the four heads in Mackey’s painting “Tolerance” are smiling at each other while two are turning away and scowling. The picture was inspired by Thierry Noir’s heads in the Gallery. With this work, Mackey criticised the mutual mistrust between people in West and East Berlin. To her, the message of the painting is still acutely relevant: Accepting “the others” is as imperative today as it was thirty years ago. Today Mackey would call her painting “Acceptance”.

Mary Mackey, Tolerance,
Mary Mackey, Tolerance,
Mary Mackey, 2014
Mary Mackey, 2014

After graduating from the Colorado Institute of Art Mackey began a career as a photographer. She travelled to Berlin in early 1990, curious to see the newly open city. She met the organiser of the East Side Gallery through a group of international artmakers she had acquainted. In 1990 she painted her picture “Tolerance” on the Wall and took photographs to document the Gallery’s emergence. Today she runs a gallery in Denver, where she exhibits her abstract paintings.

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