Pacific Standard Time -- an unprecedented art collaboration -- is 11 months away

Last night I attended what you could call the kickoff to the buildup of a huge art event coming your way in October 2011. It’s called Pacific Standard Time, and it’s meant to document LA’s role in contemporary art by highlighting the most important artists working here from 1945-1980: furniture by Sam Maloof, painting by Frank Romero and Karl Benjamin, sculpture by Dora de Larios, photography by Oscar Castillo and Julius Shulman, assemblage by Betye Saar, the genius of Simon Rodia. And much much more.

Most, if not all of the region’s museums will be taking part in the half-year event, organized by the Getty Trust, and many cultural institutions, including Off-Ramp.

From the news release:

Pacific Standard Time involves institutions of every size and character: from LACMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hammer Museum and the Getty Museum to the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, Japanese American National Museum, Watts Towers Arts Center and more than half a dozen university museums and programs. Centered in Greater Los Angeles but extending as far as San Diego, Orange County, Santa Barbara and Palm Springs, these institutions will each make a distinctive contribution to the story of art and social change in Los Angeles in the crucial years after World War II through the tumultuous period of the 1960s and 70s.

It’s going to be big, it should be fun, and it might even be profitable: volunteers will be posted at all the institutions who will point visitors to the other participants. Thus, as the Getty’s PR man explained to me, the tourists who tend to go to the Getty will be pointed to other local museums, and the locals who go to LACMA, et alia, will find their way to the Getty. But more importantly, the collaboration, unprecedented in any city, I believe, will help us all better understand LA’s role in making art history.

The promotional video unveiled Thursday encapsulates the plans for PST and conjures up the excitement of the 1945-1980 era. But it also, probably unintentionally, addresses the Art Establishment’s prejudice against Los Angeles, in an odd quote from MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch. He says, “I think that Pacific Standard Time will mark the coming of age of Los Angeles as one of the great international art centers.”

Seriously, “the coming of age?” The whole point of PST is that Los Angeles has been leading the way for the past half-century, whether or not the Establishment deigned to recognize it. This is as bad as LACMA’s Michael Govan saying, at the Resnick Pavilion opening, as he was describing seeing the Resnicks’ personal art collection for the first time, “Who knew there were collections like this in Los Angeles?”

Anyway … Off-Ramp will be part of Pacific Standard Time, with artist interviews and more. Stay tuned for updates.

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