Countdown to Pacific Standard Time ends with a massive music video
Pacific Standard Time easily ranks as the biggest collaboration among California museums in history. And its kick-off celebration Sunday night ranks as one of the biggest museum parties in Southern California in recent years. Some 1,500 artists, curators, collectors, dealers and more RSVP'd (the actual numbers are not yet in) for a Getty Center bash directed by the ever-theatrical Ben Bourgeois.
Special effect: a montage of artworks and other images from the time period on display -- 1945 to 1980 -- was projected on the Getty's travertine buildings, set to a soundtrack that changed with the years. An image that flashed of the Woman's Building -- or was it the first notes of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love"? -- had the crowd cheering.
Themed food: Different stations set up outside the Getty Center took on different decades, with deviled eggs and ham and biscuits at a mock-USO club representing the '40s, root beer floats with paper straws offered by the Soda Shoppe for the '50s, meat and potatoes served up in the '60s, chocolate fondue a favorite of the '70s and hors d'oeuvres with smoked salmon and pesto coming from the '80s. One guest said: "This thing has more themes than a bar mitzvah planner."
Guests Culture Monster were not surprised to see: new Getty President and Chief Executive Jim Cuno and foundation head Deborah Marrow, Hammer Museum Director Annie Philbin, MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and LACMA Director Michael Govan, as well as local museum patrons such as Lynda and Stewart Resnick.
Guests who made this event feel like a rare occasion: Thomas Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum in New York; Light and Space pioneers Robert Irwin and Douglas Wheeler (who were, even rarer, seen talking to each other), and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who did not make it to the formal press launch last week but appeared by video instead.
Seeing the mayor, and wondering when the art world would see him again, made this writer think about a recent conversation with former L.A. Councilman Joel Wachs, now director of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York. Wachs described Pacific Standard Time as an initiative with the power to reach beyond the art world and perhaps even crack one of the toughest art audiences of all -- politicians.
"I don’t think people in Los Angeles -- decision makers, government officials and others -- fully understand and value what a remarkable creative community they have there," Wachs said. "Los Angeles’ creative community may be its greatest asset. I think this will open up a lot of people’s eyes."
-- Jori Finkel
Photo: The Getty Center served as the location for the kickoff of "Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980," and its travertine buildings served as screens for a massive music video that spanned the decades.