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by Bill Lasarow

The annual climax of the Spring season for the twentieth year is the Venice Art Walk, the annual fundraiser of the Venice Family Clinic that is managed by the most remarkably committed network of volunteers in the Southern California art world. This is a weekend (Friday, May 21st through Sunday the 23rd) cornicopia of self-guided tours of artists’ studios (the main event), docent tours, concerts held in architecturally distinctive private homes, a silent auction, a marketplace of crafts and functional art, and a food faire. A major reason for the exceptional distinction of the Art Walk is it’s location in Venice, home base of many of the West Coast’s best loved artists: Charles Arnoldi, Ruth Weisberg, Laddie John Dill, Martha Alf (whose current exhibition is featured elsewhere in this issue), and many others. No less than David Hockney contributed his A Bigger Grand Canyon image for the poster and t-shirt this year.

David Hockney, "A Bigger
Grand Canyon," oil on sixty
canvases, 81.5 x 293", 1998.

The Venice Family Clinic (VFC) is the largest free clinic in America, providing care for well over 15,000 low income and homeless patients annually. Over 500 physicians volunteer their time pro-bono. The basic Art Walk admission price of $45 (call VFC for cost and details about other event options) may be a bit steep, but between the calibre of the event itself and the value of what is really a donation to a good cause, we’ve always regarded this as cheap for the price. Go, you won’t be sorry.

Contact the Venice Art Walk to reserve your tickets or for more information, (310) 392-9255, or visit their Web site at

Earthenware poppy flask
with green/gold Eosin glaze
designed by Lajos Mack and
manufactured by Zsolnay
Art Pottery (c. 1900), courtesy
of Historical Design, Inc.

Two weeks prior, the L.A. Modernism Show returns to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (1855 Main Street, at Pico Boulevard) for its twelfth year. This is a wide ranging, media-wise, gathering of nearly eighty dealers from around the U.S. whose focus is on design and art associated with the modernist movements of the 20th Century.

As this is a very eclectic array of material that you will encounter here, it is something of an informal walk through history without the didactic organization of a formal exhibition. You might be interested in Cubist or Pop painting, or Art Deco appliances, or Austrian glass, or Art Nouveau jewelry. Not only are you likely to find some representative examples of these and loads more by rummaging around the Civic over the course of the weekend--Friday, May 7th, Saturday the 8th, and Sunday the 9th--but you’ll come away with a sense of context and, probably, some unpredictable discoveries. Organizer Caskey & Lees runs a smooth operation and attracts a high quality cross-section of dealers, so mark your calendar.

Admission is $10 (the Benefit Preview on Friday evening, ticket price $50, supports the Los Angeles Conservancy this year), children under 16 are free if accompanied by an adult. Call Caskey & Lees at (310) 455-2886 for further information.