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Pacific Standard Time: What to Expect From Los Angeles' Big Art Moment

The museum extravaganza, supported by the likes of Will Ferrell and Jerry Bruckheimer, puts SoCal art and design in the limelight.

© Ed Ruscha/Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire and the Getty Museum

Pacific Standard Time is the art equivalent of a citywide film festival, so big and sprawling it might be impossible to see everything on show. Conceived nearly a decade ago by the Getty Trust (which ponied up $10 million in grants), the colossal initiative will see the rollout of more than 60 exhibitions. The shows, many opening Oct. 1 to 3, offer a sweeping look at the region's at-times-unappreciated creative contributions from 1945 to 1980.

It has won major support from the industry, with Will Ferrell and wife Viveca Paulin-Ferrell helping fund a LACMA design show, The Green Mile producer David Valdes sponsoring a Chicano art exhibit at UCLA and Disney backing a showcase of Mexican modernism at Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art. Jason Schwartzman has taped a film-noir-like short, helmed by Jesse Dylan, promoting PST. "I saw someone who said she was going to do every show, and I thought, 'That's a pretty good goal.' I can't wait," Matt Groening said at the Sept. 24 opening of the Hammer Museum's show of African-American art.

The big kickoff is an Oct. 2 invite-only blowout party at the Getty Museum, but it's only one of many events during the weekend, including openings at LACMA and MOCA; the inauguration of a new art fair; and VIP-only tours of blue-chip private art collections (including those of Michael Ovitz and Leonard Nimoy). In all, PST is poised to create a picture of the many seminal moments that have made L.A. the art capital it is today. "You don't have to fly to New York to see something exciting," says Paulin-Ferrell, an auctioneer and LACMA board member. "It's right here."

Santa Monica Museum of Art
Beatrice Wood: Career Woman

The museum recently opened a retrospective of the late Ojai-based potter's work, with about 70 examples of her sensual, luster-glazed ceramics. Wood, who died in 1998 at 105, is collected by Jerry and Linda Bruckheimer, who loaned two pieces to the show. (2525 Michigan Ave.; through March 3)

Getty Museum
Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970

The blockbuster PST show is the Getty's major survey of L.A. modern art. The 45-plus artists include Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Judy Chicago. Investor and former E! Entertainment CEO Jarl Mohn loaned one of John McCracken's signature plank sculptures. (1200 Getty Center Drive; Oct. 1 to Feb. 5)

Palm Springs Art Museum
Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography

What better place than the desert for a look at that SoCal icon, the swimming pool? The museum will show photos of everything from a dripping-wet Rock Hudson to Michael Childers' 1978 shot of a swimmer in David Hockney's L.A. pool. (101 N. Museum Drive; Jan. 21 to May 27)

Museum of Contemporary Art
Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles

In addition to its comprehensive exhibit of 1970s art, Under the Big Black Sun, MOCA presents a first-ever show documenting the years famed tabloid photographer Weegee spent in L.A. shooting starlets, strippers and more. (250 S. Grand Ave.; Nov. 13 to Feb. 27)

LACMA
California Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern Way"

The creation of the modern indoor/outdoor California home gets the spotlight at this exhibit of furniture, decorative arts, fashion and more. Ferrell and Paulin-Ferrell were among a group of donors who helped purchase this Kem Weber desk and chair for LACMA. (5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Oct. 1 to March 25)

VIP Access: From Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, an invite-only program is giving tours of the private collections of such names as Ovitz, Nimoy, attorney Alan Hergott and producers Gail and Tony Ganz (Participating museums are designating the VIPs.)

For more exhibits, go to the next page.

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MORE MUST-VISIT EXHIBITS!

Hammer Museum
Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980

Featuring David Hammons' print America the Beautiful, it explores the legacy of L.A.'s African-American artists. Actor Armie Hammer, whose great-grandfather founded the museum, is an honorary trustee. (10899 Wilshire Blvd., Oct. 2 to Jan. 8)

A + D Museum
Eames Designs: The Guest-Host Relationship

Get a close look at functional-yet-sculptural furniture by the late design innovators Charles and Ray Eames. The architecture and design museum's supporters include HBO vp postproduction Cynthia Kanner. (6032 Wilshire Blvd., Oct. 1 to Jan. 16)

Fowler Museum at UCLA
Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement

Valdes and Cheech Marin are on the honorary committee for the exhibit's opening. It tracks the art movement from the opening of L.A.'s first Chicano art gallery in East Los Angeles in 1969 through the '70s. (North Campus, Oct. 16 to Feb. 26)

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Artistic Evolution

This comic-book-inspired Mel Ramos painting (right) was part of a 1963 Pop Art show here. The exhibit spotlights NHM's early embrace of modern art, before its collections went to the then-new LACMA during the '60s. (900 Exposition Blvd., Oct. 2 to Jan. 15)

The Grammy Museum
Trouble in Paradise

Photos, album art, concert posters and more go on display at downtown's 2-year-old museum, whose exhibit looks at L.A. music scenes including Laurel Canyon folk, Sunset Strip rock, surf rock and jazz from 1945 to 1975. (800 W. Olympic Blvd., Feb. 22 to April 2)

Art Platform -- Los Angeles

With such hosts as David Gersh, Rachel Griffiths and Darren Star, this inaugural art fair should lure plenty of VIPs downtown for the Sept. 30 preview. Launched by the founders of New York's Armory Show, it includes 90 exhibitors with a focus on contemporary L.A. artists. (L.A. Mart, 1933 S. Broadway, Oct. 1 to 3)

Commercial Gallery Shows

L.A.'s galleries are getting in on PST with their own shows of blue-chip SoCal artists. Among the best will be Robert Irwin's fluorescent light sculptures at Venice's L&M arts, works by Raymond Pettibon at West Hollywood's Regen Projects and Robert Therrien's surreal stacks of dinner plates at Gagosian Beverly Hills.

What do you think?

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