Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Borofsky's Ballerina Clown

Borofsky’s Ballerina Clown

Dec. 12, 1989: Newly installed thirty-foot tall “Ballerina Clown” by Jonathan Borofsky on building at Main and Rose Avenue in Venice.

This photo accompanied a short article in the Dec. 14, 1989, Los Angeles Times which reported:

If you’re driving down Main Street in Venice and think you see a 30-foot clown in a tutu, you’re not hallucinating.

Yes, that is a larger-than-life ballerina with a confused gender identity smirking at you from developer Harlan Lee’s new Venice Renaissance building at Main and Rose Avenue. Yes, she (he?) is wearing a tutu and a 5 o’clock shadow. The sculpture combines a nose only Bozo’s mother could love and an eye-turning bust line. Naturally, it sings, “My Way.” What else?

To its artist, Jonathan Borofsky, the piece symbolizes the Venice ambience–a mixture of Bohemian culture and the fine arts, as well as the male and female aspects within all of us, spokeswoman Christine Anderson said.

Borofsky’s ornament is getting, well, mixed reviews. It has been criticized as sexist, “just plan ugly” and a pay-back from Lee to community members who fought against his multiuse project.

“He’s thumbing his nose at the community,” said Sherman Rattner at a gathering of activists.

“It looks like a sexual perversion,” said Steve Schlein.

“Aesthetically, it’s along the lines of an RTD bus,” said Eric Farnsworth.

But there are fans, too. “I like it,” said Marty Novell. “It takes you away from your own reality.”

Still at the same location, “Ballerina Clown” stands above the entrance to a pharmacy.

Nov. 6, 2015: Ballerina Clown, by Jonathan Borofsky, at CVS Pharamcy in Venice, CA.

Photos above and below: Nov. 6, 2015: Ballerina Clown, by Jonathan Borofsky, at Main Street and Rose Avenue in Venice. Credit: Scott Harrison/Los Angeles Times.

Nov. 6, 2015: Ballerina Clown, by Jonathan Borofsky, at CVS Pharamcy in Venice, CA.

No comments yet

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.


Required, will not be published

Browse All Photos »