The Venice Beach Biennial (VBB), a weekend event that makes tongue-in-cheek reference to the “real” Venice Biennale in Italy, will treat the famed Venice Beach boardwalk, Ocean Front Walk, as an outdoor exhibition venue. Over the course of the weekend over 50 fine artists will set up vending stands alongside veteran boardwalk artists, exhibiting new bodies of work, collaborating with the veterans on new projects, displaying site-specific sculptures or installations, and presenting live performances. Directed by Hammer curator Ali Subotnick.
The famed Ocean Front Walk is a promenade along Venice Beach with a rich history and undeniably funky atmosphere—and it’s also an ideal, if unconventional, location for a large-scale interdisciplinary outdoor exhibition. The boardwalk is officially recognized as a “Free Speech and Expression Zone” and there is a regulated system, which aims to allow performers, entertainers, and free expressionists to exhibit and sell their own original and constitutionally protected merchandise, in over 200 spaces marked along the beach side of the boardwalk. A recent city ordinance has fine-tuned the definition of “art” and nominal works that are permitted in the vending spaces, which has brought back many artists that had previously been driven out by commercial vendors.
VBB takes artists accustomed to showing in galleries and museums out of their comfort zone, and encourages them to consider their work in a new context. The veteran boardwalk artists will play an active role in this weekend event, and all artists will be working under the same conditions and regulations. Artists may also collaborate with shop owners and restaurateurs to present site-specific projects, interventions, murals, and wall projects. This exhibition will instigate new connections and dialogue between disparate artistic communities and audiences that could potentially sustain itself and deepen over time. Projects will be presented on the boardwalk proper as well as in the Recreation and Parks area near Windward Plaza (adjacent to Muscle Beach and the Graffiti Wall).
The Venice Beach Biennial will take place along Ocean Front Walk between 19th Avenue and Rose Avenue. Ocean Front Walk is a pedestrian Boardwalk located parallel to the ocean.
Friday, July 13, 11am-sunset
Saturday, July 14, 11am-sunset
Sunday, July 15, 11am-6pm
Projects in Formation Include:
Ceramicist Matthias Merkel Hess will show handmade ceramic versions of items often sold on the boardwalk and everyday objects, such as sunglasses, towels and six-pack rings.
Evan Holloway with Julian Valdivieso will present a performance collaboration with the bodybuilders at famed Muscle Beach.
Barbara Kruger poses existential questions in the form of stickers adhered to the ground.
Cara Faye Earl will sell miniature sculptures inspired by popular Mexican saint figurines, which she has created in the guise of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
Nick Herman turns to the tradition of scouring the sand with metal detectors and plans to display his treasures in a vending space.
Jason Meadows is constructing a two-headed bicycle, a bit like a push-me pull-you, two bikes sharing one front wheel.
Carter Mull will set up a photo booth on the boardwalk in which visitors may have their photo taken in the manner of obituary photographs.
Drew Heitzler and Sam Sharit will debut a new video animation that will be playing at Danny's Venice Deli and Mollusk Surf Shop.
Jennifer Rochlin will present ceramic tiles inserted into recesses on the facade of the public restrooms.
Veteran Boardwalk Artists Include:
Arthure Moore’s best-selling painting, Funky Pussy, features a cat giving “the finger,” and is the main identity for VBB. Moore also makes "funky" paintings of iconic figures such as the Mona Lisa and Muhammad.
Albert Culbertson and Indira Burgos make paintings and boxes with imagery burned into wood using a magnifying glass and sunlight.
RA Superstar shows vibrant paintings mixing abstract expressionism and Pop Art.
Giles Williams creates inventive sculptures using palm fronds.
Flewnt makes mixed media assemblages using found metal, wood and other everyday material.
Vlada Stanisavlevic a.k.a. Danny Z produces lifelike portraits in airbrush as well as surreal landscapes populated by imaginary creatures.
Mr. TV presents a vaudevillian, satirical performance viewed through an open-air TV set.
Winston the Portraitist draws exquisite charcoal portraits in under ten minutes.
Lisa Anne Auerbach & Robby Herbst
Chelsea Beck & Kurt Mueller with José Claustro*
Albert Culbertson & Indira Burgos*
Cara Faye Earl
Mark X Farina
Finishing School with Devon Tsuno
Mark Hagen & Scott Benzel**
Heartbeat of Venice feat. the Venice Beach Drum Orchestra*
Drew Heitzler & Sam Sharit
Matthias Merkel Hess
Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle**
Evan Holloway with Julian Valdivieso
Joel Kyack & Michael Decker
Nery Gabriel Lemus**
Jean Joseph Monfort*
SKY (Stacey Kai Young)*
Vlada Stanisavlevic a.k.a. Danny Z*
James Scotty Todd*
Monique Van Genderen & Kate Brown
Venice Beach Pothead*
Winston the Portraitist*
Brenna Youngblood** & Eamon Ore-Giron
**Artists that are also in Made in L.A. 2012
The Venice Beach Biennial is made possible by the Teiger Foundation.