Everyone should come to Los Angeles sometime between October 2011 and January 2012. Not just because the weather’s approximately 60 degrees warmer than those places that have chilly seasons known as fall and winter, but because the beginning of October marks the beginning of one of SoCal’s most ambitious arts events in recent history: Pacific Standard Time, a group of exhibitions devoted to exploring the dynamics of LA’s art scene from 1945-1980.
Spearheaded by a Getty Foundation initiative, over 60 local institutions are taking part in one of the most comprehensive surveys of an area’s art scene at the time. Fifty-two art shows are opening between Oct. 1 and the end of December, representing what is reportedly the biggest museum collaborative effort ever.
“The years between 1945 and 1980 were a remarkable period of social and cultural transformation in Los Angeles, as they also were in the nation as a whole,” said the LA Times about the city-wide “extravaganza.”
What’s great about Pacific Standard Time’s program is the sheer diversity of artwork being explored. Highlights include exhibitions exploring the history of swimming pools and a light exhibition featuring internationally-renowned artist Bruce Nauman’s work. More importantly, it focuses on the ethnic diversity of California by including exhibitions devoted to African-American, Mexican-American, Japanese-American and Chinese-American, and LGBT artists.
Large survey exhibitions will be at the Getty (the one in Malibu), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Smaller exhibitions will be everywhere from the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art to the Eames Case Study House.
If you’re totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of exhibitions (and the driving it’ll take to see all of them), here’s a useful flow chart to catch Pacific Standard Time’s highlights:
The Pacific Standard Time website is also a really great tool to keep track of the shows you’re interested in, and of course, it has an obligatory Twitter account at @PSTinLA. An LA Times art critic, Sharon Mizota, has also dedicated herself to going to and reviewing EVERY show, which will be an intense experience that I’m really looking forward to reading.