LORETTA AYEROFF: “Venice Boardwalk” (1973)




Artist’s Statement: Loretta Ayeroff / The Venice Boardwalk, 1973

I lived in Venice, at 4th Street and Rose Avenue, in the small courtyard behind the laundromat, for over a year. I didn’t visit the Boardwalk very often. However, on this day, I found something I wanted to shoot: an artist’s installation in a window, and the people who stopped to look at it. Positioning myself on a bench, opposite this window, I photographed a random group of curious onlookers. The proofsheet also contains the view of the boardwalk from behind the window, where you can see the bench I sat on to take these photographs, as well as, the artist’s installation, a blank space, with what looked like a covered brick in it. Totally bland and uninteresting, a mystery why so many people were fascinated.

For the Hammer Museum’s Venice Beach Biennial, I decided to print this small time-capsule of the period, using the nine figurative images from this roll of Tri-X: afro and beehive hairstyles; short-shorts with tall boots; bell-bottoms and ponchos; an eternal old lady with an umbrella. We were not yet vacated from Vietnam, and I still wonder if the two men with the wheel-chair were veterans.

I went back to the Boardwalk in 1978, with my father along, to photograph the Hare Krishna Festival with the elephant. Another festival was shot in the Venice Canals. During this period I also documented The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, while they lived and rehearsed in Venice, on what is now Abbot Kinney Blvd. All of this work, including the Boardwalk, was shot on Kodak Tri-X film.

These Venice Boardwalk window images began my interest in “serial” photography, the making of a series from a sequential group of images. Later, I documented “Rosewood Avenue” and “Backyards, 4th Street, The Story of a Relationship” using this technique. The boardwalk image of the police car, now appears in “Road Pictures.”


(Some of these images, and Loretta’s color work, can be viewed on herĀ website)


(All rights reserved. Text and images @ Loretta Ayeroff)

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