Clownerina - Giant Clown in Tutu
Venice, California is a town of contradictions. Watching a disheveled man you swear is homeless get into a $70,000 car and drive off is simply one of a thousand unsettling details. On the beach there are two freak shows -- one you pay admission for, and one you get to see for free -- by walking down the ocean promenade.
Main Street in Venice offers the whimsical Binoculars building, and the you-call-that-whimsical, I'll-show-you-whimsical Clown in a Dress, nicknamed "Ballerina Clown" or just "Clownerina." It's a ballerina in a tutu on one toe, wearing over-sized white gloves and a red-nosed clown head with hat. Sculptor Jonathan Borofsky's creation, unveiled in its current spot in 1989, is 30 feet tall, standing on a large crate above the entrance to a CVS Pharmacy.
Perhaps it's in the tradition of the martini-tipping pink elephant? "I'm seeing things -- time for more medicine."
The clown was originally built in 1988 as a gallery piece for a local art museum, with aluminum, steel, and painted fiberglass. Borofsky's intent was to capture a festive street performer mashed up with a "formal classical ballet dancer."
An electric motor makes the right leg execute a slow kick. It was turned off in 1990 (the building tenants complained that it was noisy), but restored in 2014. Clowneria now kicks daily between 1 and 6 PM, at least until her motor shorts out or the neighbors complain again.