Cara Faye Earl's sculptures in the Venice Beach Biennial, running… (Jori Finkel )
This weekend the Venice Beach boardwalk has a new sort of freak show: a display of assorted terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman (seen here in prison stripes) made by artist Cara Faye Earl.
Based on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's "most wanted" list, these sculptures are lifelike but not lifesize, barely knee-high. They are up this weekend only as part of the Venice Beach Biennial, an event designed by Hammer Museum curator Ali Subotnick to bring dozens of boardwalk artists together with more mainstream types. In some cases, it's hard to tell the two apart.
In this case, the project has a sort of single-minded focus and political incorrectness that fit a boardwalk vibe. The artist said the work was inspired by the three years she spent in Mexico City, where she learned more about the tradition of collecting santos (saints) and discovered people making unorthodox examples, not sanctioned by the Catholic Church (like the "patron saint of drug dealers").
Hence her idea of turning terrorists into collectibles, and selling them. "Because of my time in Mexico, I really wanted to show this work in a marketplace," she said. The artist, who sculpts the original figures out of clay before having them reproduced in plaster, left about half of the pieces unpainted so she can complete them during the weekend in front of passerbys.
Towards the end of day Friday, the first day of the Biennial, she had already sold a handful of the figures already at $1,200 each. She also has postcards at a lower price point: 5 for $5.
Hours: 11 a.m. to sunset Saturday; 11am to 6 p.m. Sunday. On the Venice Boardwalk south of Rose Avenue. Red balloons mark the official Biennal projects.
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