Look into the boardwalk’s past, and don’t forget to bring your board
OG Venetians may not believe their eyes, but there’s actually a slice of Old Venice in Chinatown. Since early May, a 40,000-square-foot warehouse art space in the neighborhood just north of downtown has lured in over 60,000 visitors with a mega exhibition of immersive graffiti and street art environments, called “Beyond the Streets.”
Among the installations are a hand-painted, playable handball court by New York artist Lee Quiñones, a rebuild of street art duo Faile’s stone-and-mosaic “Temple,” and a sight pre-millennium Venetians would probably find familiar: a recreation of the historic Venice Pavilion.
A collaboration between adidas Skateboarding and Los Angeles graffiti artist RISK, the reconstruction (about a third of the size of the actual Pavilion) was christened on site by a multitude of graffiti artists who used to write on the cement recreational facility’s surfaces back in the day, says “Beyond the Streets” curator Roger Gastman.
“RISK, one of the original artists that painted there a crapload, is the artist that led everybody to paint, and he brought in Piro. He brought in Krush … Tame. There were a lot. There’s too many to mention,” says Gastman. “They came in over a weekend and just enjoyed themselves and painted.”
For those who missed out on the heyday of the Pavilion — a canvas for artists, an amphitheater for street fights and a playground for skateboarders — the Venice Pavilion installation not only offers a peek into the past, but also serves as an ode to the instrumental role Venice played in developing L.A.’s street art culture during the ’60s,’70s,’80s and ’90s.
“We did that for respect to the city we were in and also just the respect of the culture, because [the Pavilion] was such a hotbed for it,” says Gastman.
But this new recreation isn’t simply stuck in the past. Skaters take note: you can actually skate on it.
— Christina Campodonico
“Beyond the Streets” is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 26 at Werkartz, 1667 N. Main St., Chinatown. $25. Call (888) 718-4253 or visit beyond-thestreets.com.