More than 60 cultural centers are collaborating with the Getty Foundation on a six-month initiative called Pacific Standard Time (PST). This first-ever comprehensive exploration of Los Angeles’ art and design history, particularly the post-WWII burst of creativity, includes exhibitions, films, lectures, readings, concerts, and more. Several participating exhibitions opened Oct. 1 and will run through early 2012. The Getty’s cornerstone show, Greetings from L.A.: Artists and Publics, 1950–1980, pulls from its existing collection and features posters, photographs, correspondence, and graphic artwork—many on view for the first time—that reveal how artists and designers spread the word about their works to the general public. A unique series of oral histories with many of L.A.’s key artists, filmmakers, curators, collectors, and critics, plus numerous newly acquired pieces from rare historical archives about that era, accompany the exhibition. The Getty plans to produce two books, several articles, film screenings, a performance art festival, and a major international symposium in relation to the PST initiative, which will continue through 2013.
Two major exhibitions involved in PST focus on architecture and furnishings. Through June 3, visitors to the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA) can learn about California Design, 1930-1965: “Living in a Modern Way.” A thorough study of mid-century design created in California, this showcase presents more than 350 objects ranging from furniture to textiles. A special addition to the exhibit is a full-sized re-creation of Charles and Ray Eames’ living room. The show moves beyond just focusing on architecture and design pieces to examine the ways that California shaped culture across the country. According to the museum’s release, “After 1945 a burgeoning, newly prosperous population—intoxicated by the power to purchase after the deprivation years of the Great Depression and the wartime rationing of goods—turned the state into America’s most important center for progressive architecture and furnishings.” This is one of five exhibitions that LACMA is presenting in conjunction with PST.
“You can tell more about a country from its bread and soup than you can from its museums and concert halls.” This quote inspired the Architecture + Design Museum’s current exhibit, EAMES WORDS | Eames Designs: The Guest Host Relationship. Opening Oct. 6 and continuing through Jan. 16, the show uses this and other quotes to illustrate the Eames’ appreciation of humble, everyday objects. Visitors can see such objects, materials, and tools selected and assembled to give insights into the simple pleasures valued by the design-minded couple. The museum has collected a range of items from the Eames’ lifetimes as well as contemporary pieces, and it presents everything alongside graphically displayed quotes. “From tumbleweed to strawberries, a bolt of cloth to a keg of nails, to elephants in India and the bread of Scandinavia, the whole world was their canvas,” states the museum’s description of the exhibit.