L.A. Louver invites Venetians to bid adieu to boardwalk fixture ‘Declaration’

By Christina Campodonico

Mark di Suvero’s “Declaration” has welcomed many to Venice Beach since 2001 (Image courtesy of L.A. Louver)

With one steel end diving into a point toward the Pacific and the other spreading its arms wide as if to embrace the city of Los Angeles, abstract Venice Boardwalk sculpture “Declaration” looks as if it is taking a bow — like an inverted drafting compass falling from the sky, or the hand gesture for the peace sign bending forward in mid-air. At just the right angle, especially around sunset, the statue can also resemble a massive letter V.

“Declaration,” which has held its spot on the grassy knoll where Windward Avenue meets the beach since 2001 and was erected in honor of the Venice Family Clinic Art Walk’s 22nd year, is expected to take its final bow on the boardwalk when it’s relocated to creator Mark di Suvero’s studio in Northern California later this year.

It’s hard to imagine the Venice skyline without this iconic half-bow of steel I-beams. “It’s di Suvero’s ‘Declaration’ that lifts the spirit and gives a sense of arrival,” wrote one reader to The Argonaut in August 2001. Weeks later, the statue marked the spot where poets, writers and members of the Venice community came together to reflect on the tragedy of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

But change has become a constant in Venice, and we must be prepared for it when it comes. Which is why L.A. Louver, the gallery that represents di Suvero and has long supported the sculpture’s presence in Venice, is holding a goodbye gathering for “Declaration” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5.

“Despite several attempts to work with the city, there has not been adequate interest from civic leaders to fully embrace a broader philanthropic effort to acquire the work,” writes L.A. Louver Founding Director Peter Goulds in a statement to The Argonaut. “For this reason, the artist and the gallery have come to a mutual agreement to de-install the sculpture from its current location.”

Fortunately, Westsiders still have some time to pay their respects — first with Wednesday’s reception at L.A. Louver celebrating di Suvero’s artistry (a retrospective of his work is on display at the gallery through June 8), and then maybe a stroll to “Declaration” around sunset when the towering sculpture is bathed in light, shadow and the glow of Venice Beach.

The Summer Celebration for “Declaration” happens from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday (June 5) at L.A. Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice. Admission is free. “Mark di Suvero: Painting and Sculpture” remains on view through June 8. Visit lalouver.com for gallery hours.