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A unicorn that sprays paint -- and other Pacific Standard Time gallery shows

September 7, 2011 |  1:50 pm

Richard Jackson Little Girl's Room
The neo-Dada artist Richard Jackson is at it again. Known for creating machines for painting, Jackson has filled David Kordansky's gallery with an installation called "The Little Girl's Room." The centerpiece is a monumental upside-down unicorn figure (embraced by a colorful sculpture of a girl) rigged to spray paint across her room as if it's urinating.

This show, which opens Saturday and is billed as Jackson's first solo gallery show in L.A. in 20 years, is bound to be one of the more sensational offerings under the broad rubric of Pacific Standard Time, the region-wide celebration of Southern California postwar art history that began with Getty Foundation grants to museums.

According to the official list, just out, more than 70 commercial galleries are participating by staging shows in keeping with the 1945-1980 period or else showing new work by artists, like Jackson, who were active at the time. (The galleries benefit from Getty promotion but not funding.) Many but not all are timing their shows to coincide with the museums' opening weekend, Oct. 1-2.

As Culture Monster reported earlier this year, exhibitions range from 1950s paintings by Lee Mullican at Marc Selwyn to a new but nostalgic -- they say "retrospective" -- installation by Betye Saar at Roberts and Tilton.

Highlights not reported before include:

 -- New work by Robert Irwin at L&M Arts

-- A set of four works by James Turrell, including two "cross-corner projections" from the 1960s, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (the reincarnation of Bill Griffin's gallery in Santa Monica)

-- A survey of postwar illustration in L.A. at Robert Berman Gallery, including record covers and magazine work

-- A rare showing of four decades of Fred Eversley's sculpture at William Turner gallery

-- Early drawings from the mid '60s by Ferus artist John Altoon at The Box

-- A retrospective of artwork, 1973-76, created by the original members of the proto-punk art/music group Destroy all Monsters (Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Niagara and Cary Loren) at PRISM.

Early L.A. gallery history will also be a fun theme to explore, as Denenberg Fine Arts is presenting the rather glamorous life and gallery of European emigre art dealer Felix Landau, and the gallery/publisher Cirrus is doing a series of four shows to revisit and re-envision its own 40-year archive.

While the shows as a whole are remarkable for their diversity, a few are interesting for another reason: It's not clear what their connection to the main event, if any, is.

For instance, Blum and Poe is listed as a participant but their September/October show features new work by thirtysomething L.A. sculptor Matt Johnson, and the following show features New York painter Chuck Close. The chance to see new work by Close here is exciting, but unless there's some major surprise in store, it sounds like their regular program.

L.A. Galleries enter the Pacific Standard Time zone

L.A. art fair firms up galleries and VIP program

--Jori Finkel

Photo: A detail from Richard Jackson's "The Little Girl's Room," Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, and Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland. Credit: Brian Forrest.