Venice Beach landmark sculpture may move from Los Angeles

VENICE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In May 2001, a 60-foot sculpture was installed on Venice Beach. It was supposed to stay there for six months. Instead, it has been there nearly two decades. Now, it may be moved.

The piece is called, "Declaration," and it is situated on a knoll overlooking the ocean. It's 25 tons of steel, rising where Windward Avenue meets the boardwalk. It is the work of artist Mark Di Suvero, who likes his sculptures placed outdoors in public, not in a museum.

"I think that the placing of pieces in urban context is very important to give people a sense of freedom," he said.

Millions of Venice visitors have walked by "Declaration" not knowing it was a temporary installation. Di Suvero oversaw the installation in May 2001 for the Venice Family Clinic and its art walk benefit. The artist's gallery, L.A. Louver paid for the site work and has paid to maintain it, but time is running out, and they have applied for the permit to take it down at the end of the year

Gallery founder Peter Goulds hopes It can be saved.

"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," Goulds said.

It's valued at $7 million, but terms can be negotiated. At any price, a multi-million dollar purchase by the city is out of the question. In a statement, the area's City Councilman Mike Bonin said, "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."

Supporters are hoping a generous benefactor will purchase the sculpture.

The artist will reluctantly dismantle "Declaration" by the end of the year and have it trucked to a site in Northern California.

"One dreams of having pieces that people love, and keeping them there," Di Suvero said.

Even skeptics have come to embrace it. Boardwalk business owner Michael Lutkes said, "First I hated it and I thought it didn't look good in front of the palm trees, but now I'm used to it and people come to take pictures of it. I actually like it now."

Surfers use the piece as a marker when they're in the ocean.

For locals and visitors alike, the Venice landscape will be very different without it.

There is a free public a celebration in Venice Wednesday night for the landmark sculpture and the artist who created it. The event is at the L.A. Louver Gallery, located very close to the sculpture. For the address and information about the gallery, click here.
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