Biennial Goes to the Boardwalk

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Made in L.A. 2012, the first of a series of exhibitions to be held every two years, continues at the Hammer Museum, Barnsdall Municipal Art Gallery and LAXART in Culver City but a new addition to the show appears this weekend. The Venice Beach Biennial, organized by Hammer curator Ali Subotnick, is a tongue-in-cheek riff on the venerable affair that has taken place in Venice, Italy since 1894.

Burton Machen: "Venice Artists"
from the series Urban Evolution/PORTRAITS PROJECT, 2012
Installation of posters at 17th Avenue and Speedway in Venice, California,
with tagging in progress.
Courtesy of the artist

Being Venice Beach, California, however, it looks to be considerably less polite and fittingly more outrageous. It involves 87 artists, with 50 given sites along the boardwalk and elsewhere to create site-specific sculptures, installations, murals and so forth. Barbara Krueger's biting questions will appear as stickers glued to the ground. Matthias Merkel Hess makes ceramic versions of sunglasses, towels and other souvenirs while Cara Earl presents hand-painted plaster sculptures of terrorists most wanted by the Department of Homeland Security. Drew Heitzler and Sam Sharit debut a video animation in a tattoo parlor.

Matthias Merkel Hess: "Venice Beach Towel"
Ink and watercolor on paper, 2012

In a provocative twist, the work of such recognized artists will be shown alongside what the Hammer Museum terms "veteran boardwalk artists," meaning those who tend to be working on the boardwalk on any weekend creating instant portraits, palm frond sculptures and so forth, including Arthure Moore's recognizable funky pussy paintings. In fact, the Hammer asked him to paint a bright red announcement for the VBB but funky pussy is still present.

Arthure Moore: "Venice Beach Biennial" (Surfing Funky Pussy), 2012
© 2012 Arthure "Art" Moore

What does it all look like? I don't know but I'm excited about it. We will all find out together when we go there this Friday, Saturday or Sunday from 11am onward. It takes place along Ocean Front Walk between 19th Avenue and Rose Avenue. Admission is free. For more information, go to

Banner image: Arthure Moore's Funky Pussy, © 2012 Arthure "Art" Moore