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Greetings From L.A., Los Angeles Art History Explained


A lot of hullaballoo has been going on surrounding Pacific Standard Time. Many have been praising the city-wide art event and we’ve also been sharing a lot of insight into what is going on. But, what is the history behind these shows? We’ve seen the work in shows like Pacific Standard TimeCrosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970 at the Getty: we want the backstory! Lucky for us, that also exists as an exhibit and it’s at the Getty, too: Greetings From L.A.: Artsits And Public, 1945 – 1980.

The little show is housed within the Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery, one of the smaller exhibition spaces at The Getty. It’s very logical to have this show stationed here since it is one of the more academic entries into Pacific Standard Time. While this show does share art spanning the time period, the focus is more to share the history behind the art and map the city’s various movements. For those who have been following the shows, this one really places everything into a timeline for you to see, “Oh, so these people were at Ferus–right!” or “Duh: that’s when all this was happening at Otis.”

The show accomplishes this through many means of exhibition design, but most notably by taking advantage of technology–namely through the use of some fancy iPads that are used as windows into the past. This small touch, while perhaps trivial to some, was great for us because they served as personalized entry points to art history. What would typically be presented in an overwhelming amount of wall text is instead presented through a much more personal medium of video interviews on Steve Jobs’ brilliant tablet.

For more on PST’s history, be sure to check out the Pacific Standard Time blog!

Photo above: Poster for the Exhibition War Babies, Jerry McMillan, 1961. Offset lithograph. 21 7/8 x 17 1/16 in. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2006.M.1.5) © Joe Goode. Courtesy Jerry McMillan and Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica.

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