Double Take
A Second Look Down Venice Boulevard
6256 Coast to Coast pairs historic and contemporary photographs along five miles of one Los Angeles road. The exhibit features an online program, printed field guide, and display at CLUI Los Angeles (which at the date of publishing remains closed to the public due to the pandemic). CLUI photo
COAST TO COAST: VENICE BOULEVARD THROUGH the Lens of the Coast Realty Archive, a new exhibit at the CLUI, examines a stretch of roadway outside the front door of the Center’s office in Los Angeles, with old and new images exploring modern changes to this sample of the Los Angeles streetscape.
The exhibit uses images from the Center’s Coast Realty Archive, a collection of thousands of old real estate listings, acquired from Coast Realty, a former real estate office located next door to the CLUI headquarters on Venice Boulevard. The listings cover a period from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, and include a photograph of each structure for sale, taken from the street. These images, which have never been seen by the public before, offer a view of the city prior to Google Street View and the serial street photography of Ed Ruscha and others. Collectively they provide a unique street by street photographic survey of the west side of Los Angeles, at that time. 
For Coast to Coast we focused on the section of Venice Boulevard between the Coast Realty office (which is now a yoga studio), and the coast of the nation, five miles further west (hence the title, Coast to Coast). Photographers, including Nico Young, who was working on the project with the CLUI over the summer (with the support of the Getty Foundation’s Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internship program) were dispatched to take contemporary photos of each site, from as close to the same vantage point as the older image as possible. 
Research was also conducted by Mr. Young and others, drawing information from local newspapers, historical society publications, Sanborn maps, historic aerial photographs, as well as public resources such as municipal building and safety department records, and research in the field. This, along with details from the real estate listings themselves, created a layer of information for the sites, and their regional context. 
We gradually winnowed down the selection of sites from more than 150 to 30, enough to fill the exhibit space. The old image of the site was coupled with the contemporary image, to create a then/now rephotography display, with brief descriptive captions. These pairings show the transformation that took place from the early city, booming with post-war possibility, to the city of today, and were arranged from east to west, echoing the westward migration and development of the nation, meeting its end, at the coast. ♦