Pacific Standard Time is an examination of the formation of art in Los Angeles from the 1950s through the 1980s. More than 60 cultural institutions and 70 galleries from Santa Barabara to San Diego are participating. It’s huge and overwhelming. One way to approach the event is with Rebels in Paradise by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp in hand. Drohojowska-Philp’s book describes the LA art culture of the 1960s akin to Vassari, that is part information and part gossip. The book gives a foundation to seeing the art spread out all over Southern California. Readers learn about how Walter Hopps started the Ferus Gallery and provided the fertile ground for the art, but also about his affairs and drug problems. If you think the Cool School artists were sitting around talking about their new art forms-plastics, light, found items, installations the way we imagine the Impressionists in Paris-you’re wrong, they worked all day, then met to drink and talk about women (or men) at night. Chapter by chapter, Rebels in Paradise drops in on the swirl of artists who free of any obligation to the art historical past, created their own art and started entirely new movements. So what better way to approach the extravaganza of Pacific Standard Time then by pairing up events with each chapter? (The ending chapters aren’t included.)
Rebels in Paradise as a Guide to Pacific Standard Time
Chapter One: 1963: Andy and Marcel
Stop by Beatrice Wood: Career Woman-Drawings, Paintings, Vessels, and Objects at the Santa Monica Museum of Art to see the objects she used to serve Marcel Duchamp when he dropped by for tea.
Chapter Two and Three: Ferus Gallery
These chapters describe how the Ferus Gallery started, a great overview of the art is found at California Art: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation at the Weisman Museum of Art and at the quintessential Getty Center exhibit, Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950 to 1970. Plus, why not see the movie? “The Cool School” is a fun documentary of the era.
Chapter Four: Ferus Goes Forth
Drop by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art‘s installation of Edward Kienholz, Five Car Stud 1969-72, Revisited and their permanent exhibit of “The Illegal Operation.”
Chapter Five: Okies: Ed Ruscha, Mason Williams, Joe Goode, and Jerry McMillan
Ruscha is famous for many works (his backwards Hollywood sign is sure to be seen everywhere the next few months) including his photographs of every building on Sunset Blvd. Check out the video of a current drive down Sunset Blvd with Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Anthony Kiedis. See “The Back of Hollywood” at Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Chapter Six: Bell, Box and Venice
Bell’s work will be party of the Getty exhibit, afterwards drop by his eponymous restaurant in Venice and walk the beach that inspired so many of these artists.
Chapter Seven: Glamour Gains Ground
Gain a sense of the nightlife and music talked about in this chapter by attending a showing and discussion of the documentary “The Troubadors” at the Broad in Santa Monica on November 5th.
Chapter Eight: The Dawn of Dwan
This gallery no longer exists, but visit the exhibit Portrait of L.A. Artists at the Craig Krull Gallery for photos of people discussed in this chatty chapter.
Chapter Nine: A Bit of British Brilliance: David Hockney
Leslie Sacks Fine Art in Brentwood recently opened a show of David Hockney prints from his time in Los Angeles.
Chapter Ten: Wilder Times with Bruce Nauman and Artforum
Nauman’s site specific Green Light Corridor will be shown at the La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego as part of the monumental Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface exhibit.
Chapter Eleven: The Ascendency of Irwin’s Atmospherics
Shown throughout the Pacific Standard Times exhibits (his art is in the Weisman, Getty, and MOCA exhibits), make a point of seeing the site specific work the Getty commissioned “Black on White” in the Getty’s entrance rotunda. I saw it during part of the installation a few weeks ago, can’t wait to see it complete.
Chapter Twelve: Set the Night on Fire
Several exhibits will cover the political and African-American art experience: Under the Big Black Sun at MOCA, Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 at the Hammer Museum, Graphics 1967-1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change at the University Art Museum, Cal State Long Beach, and John Outterbridge at LA>.
Chapter Thirteen: Chicago Comes to Los Angeles
Judy Chicago will speak a few times at the Pomona College Museum of Art, plus the Otis College of Art and Design is hosting a series of events about women artists all around their exhibit Doin’ It in Public: Feminism and Art at the Woman’s Building.
Chapter Fourteen and Fifteen: See Chapter Four above.
Chapter Sixteen: Gemini GEL
Gemini GEL is offering behind-the-scenes tours several times throughout Pacific Standard Time, also visit the Norton Simon for Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California.
Chapter Seventeen: Between Form and Function: Frank Gehry
Cirrus Gallery is hosting an exhibit featuring works by Gehry, Ruscha and Baldessari, plus Gehry will be speaking at the Getty on December 13th.
Chapter Eighteen: London Calling, L.A. Answers
See Chapter Seven plus for a different take visit the GRAMMY Museum’s Trouble in Paradise: Music and Los Angeles, 1945-1975.
Chapter Nineteen: Love-ins and Outs
Visit the Pacific Party Time exhibit at the Craig Krull Gallery, gives some background as to why the loves were in and out.
Chapter Twenty: Change of Light Brigade: Irwin, Wheeler, and Turrell
For a chance to experience Turrell on his own, drop by his exhibit Present Tense at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery. For a wonderful overview of the Light and Space movement, visit Phenomenal at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Chapter Twenty-One: Fantastic Plastic Lovers: DeWain Valentine, Peter Alexander, and Helen Pashgian
One of the Getty’s exhibits is dedicated to DeWain Valentine, From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentine’s Gray Column, plus his art can be seen at the Weisman Museum.
Chapter Twenty-Two: Odd Man In: John Baldessari
The artist included in the most Pacific Standard Time exhibits, you’re sure to see examples everywhere (the Getty, Weisman, MOCA), but for a more intimate experience, drop by the Cirrus Gallery. Even better, he’ll be speaking at the Hammer on October 4th.
Pacific Standard Time is as exciting as it is massive. My list is far from complete, I’d love to hear your additions. With Rebels in Paradise you’ll get the background to fully enjoy the exhibits and for the book lovers, what better guide is there?