In Venice Beach, you can find a giant steel sculpture on a hill between the boardwalk and the Pacific Ocean.
In May 2001, artist Mark di Suvero installed Declaration, a 60-foot-tall towering structure made from steel I-beams on a grassy hill between the Venice Ocean Front Walk and the Pacific Ocean, right where where Windward Avenue runs into the beach-front walkway.
The sculpture was placed initially to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the Venice Art Walk and in honor of the Venice Family Clinic, an organization that provides health care services to uninsured and low-income patients. The clinic also operates Venice’s Annual Art Walk as a fundraiser.
Declaration was only intended to be on loan for just a year. But 21 years later, it’s still standing on its hill, surrounded by a grove of omnipresent Los Angeles palm trees.
In fact, Declaration has been around so long, it’s become an iconic symbol of Venice. It’s comprised of two V-shaped structures. One is embedded in the hill with its leading beam pointing out toward the sea, looking somewhat like the prow of a ship. The other V stretches skyward with its arms open as if it’s embracing the city.
Declaration, which people often call “the V,” is very hard to miss. For the past two decades, the sculpture has served as a landmark, a place to relax, and a convenient location to meet friends.
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But Declaration may not be around much longer. There were plans to remove the sculpture in 2020 and truck it up to di Suvero’s studio in Petaluma, but complications from the pandemic kept that from happening. There was hope that Los Angeles would buy it (for an asking price in the neighborhood of six million dollars), but City Councilmember Mike Bonin squashed that, saying that such a purchase would be “… negligent.”
Yet despite not being purchased, Declaration remains in the same place it’s stood for 21 years. It’s probably not easy to move a 25-ton steel sculpture. Time will tell if it will retain its unofficial status as Venice landmark on a permanent basis or if its days are numbered.
If Declaration does end up being removed (and even if it doesn’t) there are a few other steel sculptures crafted by the prolific 88-year-old di Suvero on display in the greater Los Angeles area you can enjoy:
- Shoshone, in Downtown Los Angeles at Citicorp Center (installed back when it was the Wells Fargo Building) at 444 S Flower, just across the street from the Los Angeles Public Library.
- Pre-Natal Memories, in California Plaza at 300 S Grand in Downtown Los Angeles.
- Teha, on display in Hide and Seek: Art Makes Nature at South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Peninsula.
- Venice Beach (at Windward), Venice
- GPS Coordinates: 33.986389, -118.474441 [ Google Maps ]
- what3words: ///blast.petal.dishes
- See more of Mark di Suvero’s work at his website.
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