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by Bill Lasarow

Joe Goode, poster artist for this
year's Venice Art Walk.


Chinese advertising poster for
Australian Kraft Cheese, ca. 1930s,
courtesy of Jazmin International. Featured at the L.A. Modernism Show


Petite Bakelite forks and knives,
c. 1930s-1940s, courtesy of
The Bakelite Lady. Featured
at the L.A. Modernism Show

The year's major open studio event, the annual Venice Art Walk fundraiser in support of the Venice Family Clinic, and the Los Angeles Modernism Show share the late spring special events calendar with a new entry, the World Contemporary Art '98 artist exhibition/marketplace.

The second weekend of the month, May 9 and 10, brings together dealers specializing in a wide variety of fine, functional and decorative art forms associated with the array of movements associated with 20th-Century Modernism. The roster of the offerings from fair promotional material provides this prep: ". . .on display will be American Arts and Crafts period pottery and furniture; 1920s designer jewelry; Frank Lloyd Wright and Eames designs; WWII era propaganda posters; advertising prints; trade symbols; art deco lamps, tables and appliances; movie storyboards; Bauhaus chairs; pop art; rare vintage radios; cubist paintings and sculptures; and vintage clothing and fine watches.". So take your pick. The Benefit Preview kicking off this eleventh annual show will be on the preceding Friday evening, May 8, 6-9pm. Tickets for this are priced at $50 per person, and proceeds will go to the Los Angeles Conservancy, an esteemed non-profit organization that protects and preserves L.A.'s historical architecture. General admission to the L.A. Modernism Show at the Santa Monica Civic (1855 Main Street, at Pico Blvd., in Santa Monica) is $10, with children under 16 accompanied by an adult included free. For further information contact organizers Caskey, Lees and Olney at (310) 455-2886.

The Venice Art Walk, now in its 19th year, sticks to its usual and successful mix of studio walking tours (shuttle buses are provided), Silent Action and Food Faire in support of the Venice Family Clinic, which offers free health care for local uninsured citizens. Thousands of patrons happily drop $45 per person each year to spend what is typically a gorgeous Sunday SoCal afternoon--this year falling on May 17th--enjoying art in the beach area throughout which are honeycombed hundreds of artists' studios. Starting point is the Westminster Elementary School, located in Venice where Abbot Kinney Blvd. meets Main St. This is not strictly a bohemian section of town either; some of the most successful artists on the West Coast have erected studios that are architectural wonders in terms of both space and attractiveness on the relatively tiny lots that are endemic to Venice. One new wrinkle this year is the inclusion of guest artists' (who do not work in Venice) work at selected studios. Together with the more upper crust special events--including concerts in a selection of art-laden private residences on May 15th (tickets, $100), and a group of docent-led bus tours on May 16 and 17 (tickets, $110)--the Art Walk normally raises in the neighborhood of a million dollars for the Clinic. You get a catalogue that features lots of shots of the artists whose studios are included on the tour (free with admission), and there is also the annual commemorative poster, this year featuring the art of Joe Goode (available for sale). Do call for further information and reservations: (310) 392-8630.

Rounding out the month and this season's special event highlights is the World Contemporary Art '98 Competition and Exhibition. The booths here are devoted to individual artists, according to organizers California Center for Contemporary Art, "from around the globe. . .who have works selected by the Jury," which will be awarding prizes to top entries within various media categories (sorry, we don't know whom the Jury consists of). Hall B at the L.A. Convention Center, located downtown at Figueroa St. at Pico Blvd., will host up to 300 artists, each occupying a 10' square booth. A dinner party on Friday, May 29th, 6pm, will feature presentation of the Jury awards (tickets are priced at $75 per person). The organizers are also publishing a hard cover color catalogue (a bit pricy at $70) and sponsoring an exhibit of students' and children's art. Whether World Contemporary Art will turn out to be an interesting and revealing gathering of quality artists (bear in mind this is not a gallery/dealer fair) or merely a high-end sidewalk fair is not possible for us to appraise in advance. However, the level of ambition is aiming high and thus demands our consideration. Our jury must still be out. Event dates are May 29-31, 11am-7pm daily. Admission is $6 per day, or $10 for a three-day pass. For further information please call (310) 312-2400, or e-mail

Beatrice Wood, cup,
Part of the World Contemporary Art '98
Competition and Exhibition.

Reza Yah Yaei, sculpture,
Part of the World Contemporary Art '98
Competition and Exhibition.