By Keldine Hull
Time is running out for popular Venice Beach sculpture and landmark “Declaration.” Installed in May 2001 for the Venice Family Clinic and its art walk benefit, the 60- foot sculpture has become a highly recognizable part of Venice’s landscape. Located where Windward Avenue and the boardwalk meet, and created from 25 tons of steel, the art installation was meant to be temporary, remaining in Venice for only 6 months.
The artist behind “Declaration,” Mark Di Suvero, was born in Shanghai, China in 1933 and immigrated to the United States in 1941. Suvero received a BA in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley and in 2000, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center. Suvero has also been honored with the Smithsonian Archives of American Art Medal, the National Medal of Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Sculpture in 2013.
Suvero’s gallery, L.A. Louver, who originally paid for the site work and maintenance, has applied for the permit to take “Declaration” down. According to L.A. Louver founder Peter Goulds, “We were hoping in the spirit of the moment, it will endear people to wish to keep it here, because it is an inseparable part now of the iconic images of L.A. The clock is ticking against us at this point.”
However, valued at $7 million, the city has no intentions of purchasing the sculpture. According to councilmember Mike Bonin, “There are 1,000 homeless people sleeping on the streets of Venice and it would be negligent to spend millions in public funds for a sculpture.” Unless a benefactor purchases the art installation, Suvero will have no other option than to dismantle “Declaration,” which has seen millions of visitors over the last 18 years, and have it trucked to another site in Northern California.