Venice's Beach Biannual 2012

Project by Lisa Anne Auerbach, Robby Herbst, and Kimberly Varella
Published in conjunction with Made in L.A. 2012, organized by the Hammer Museum

Designed by Kimberly Varella
Saddle Stitched Softcover, 32 Pages
Publisher: Hammer Museum, 2012
Dimensions: 13 × 17.5 in.
Printing: Source Print Media, Los Angeles

This book, originally produced as an unusually substantive giveaway for the Hammer's Venice Beach Biennial in 2012, is a wonderfully designed love letter to, and reflection on, the spirit of this infamous place. Much of the book focuses its attention on the people and artists that populate Venice Beach, selling their wares and pushing some incredibly obnoxious and abrasive t-shirts, buttons, and sign-based items to tourists, or anyone else that might require a keepsake that reads "Toke and Fuck," "Where's The Weed At?" or "Eat Pussy—Not Meat!" The authors reflect on what they see and the people they meet in a manner that is respectful, but also true to the frequently obscene culture of the place

In their essay "Venice's Beach Biannual," the authors write:

"The Venice Beach boardwalk is a complicated place, and it's particularly challenging to parachute in for a weekend to work as an artist. The issues of homelessness, mental illness, drugs, and poverty are just as palpable as the joy, natural beauty, quirky charm, and pleasures of the seaside carnival. In some regards it is impossible to make an artwork as compelling as the work already there. The best Venice artists create work that's visceral, vulgar, messy, and confrontational. It's not like the polite and formal work found within the walls of a museum, and the context couldn't be more different. For artists contributing to the Hammer Museum's Venice Beach Biennial (VBB), a primary question is of the political economy of the whole thing. As an artist invitee you're a privileged guest in a world that is generally hard fought and policed by artists struggling themselves with the deprivations of serious poverty. VBB participants are invited by the museum, not by the existing community of the boardwalk. Spaces are available to those who arrive earliest to grab them, but the real structure exists outside of the official city beach vending codes. We are intruders, interlopers, trespassers, but also citizens. This publication chronicles our attempts at understanding exactly what the fuck is going on here."

The Venice Beach artists featured in this publication are: Albert Culbertson, James Scotty Todd, Mark Self, Arist Niciforos, Lisa Green, Ikoh, and Arthure Moore (who is interviewed by Claire de Dobay Rifej).

Photography by Ian Byers-Gamber