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Let’s Talk About Pacific Standard Time

Pacific Standard Time - Art In L.A.

There are several upcoming events surrounding Pacific Standard Time. We’ve posted a few of the shows related to the subject but, really, what is PST? The logo for the event is being tacked on everywhere, with people whispering about it…but what the heck is it! Let us break it down for you.

Essentially, PST is a six month long city wide art show showcasing Los Angeles art from 1945 to 1980, seeking “to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene and how it became a major new force in the art world.” That is it! The show or movement or whatever you want to think of it has worked with many galleries throughout the city to organize several shows related to the overall theme of celebrating Los Angeles art in the specified time period. PST has been in the works for over ten years and seeks to tell the “immensely rich story of how [Los Angeles art] came about, through unprecedented cultural innovation and social change,” a tale that for the most part has gone untold.

PST officially starts at the beginning of October and, as you can assume, many shows have already kicked off. There are over sixty galleries involved with the show, some of which are outside of Los Angeles. One of the most important things, if not the most important thing, Pacific Standard Time is doing is sharing the stories of many artists and artistic movements that have been swept under the city’s artistic rug because no one has cared for or thought about them. These movements include “developments from L.A. Pop to post-minimalism; from modernist architecture and design to multi-media installations; from the films of the African American L.A. Rebellion to the feminist activities of the Woman’s Building; from ceramics to Chicano performance art; and from Japanese American design to the pioneering work of artists’ collectives.”

We had somewhat caught on to this, excited to hear shows like ASCO at LACMA, Now Dig This! at The Hammer, and Esther McCoy at The MAK Center going up in the city, but we didn’t know what it all meant. Even if you consider yourself a diehard art person in this city, it’s very hard to believe that you had any idea who Harry Gamboa Jr. or Betye Saar were before PST rolled into town.

The show/movement/lifestyle has also gone out of their way to make it appeal to many through their online presence. On October 2, they have organized a free day for many of the exhibits, which includes shuttles to/from the museums. They’ve also devoted online space for every exhibit, providing a mouthpiece for every movement, artist, and person involved. There are neighborhood breakdowns and family gudies, to make understanding movements and types of expression better. If you like, you can catch up to the minute updates on their Twitter, more information on their blog, and you can even get a recommendation on what to see by taking a fun little test.

This is certainly an opinion and a potentially divisive statement, but Pacific Standard Time just may be the best thing to happen to Los Angeles art ever. Of course, the art has existed and gone noticed and unnoticed for some time and there have been superb shows in Los Angeles for decades. However, PST celebrates them all in an organized, beautiful fashion, encompassing every movement, style, aesthetic, and grouping imaginable from the Southland. The exhibit will put Los Angeles on all art enthusiasts’ maps as it will be impossible to ignore. If you live in Los Angeles and are an arts supporter, you need to get out and see a show a week that is in conjunction with PST. It is one thing to support local artists now, in 2011, and it’s another thing to have no knowledge of the landscape that came before them. Pacific Standard Time will educate even the most passing patron in art history. Bless The Getty Institute and Bank of America for making this show happen!

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