Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Introducing Pacific Standard Time

IT'S finally happened. After a lot of talk, the postwar art blowout Pacific Standard Time has opened at dozens of museums and spaces across Southern California.

Your humble blogger wrote a piece for Los Angeles magazine about the origins, offerings and meaning of the whole thing -- it includes a dozen recommended shows, from the Getty's overview, Crosscurrents, to a show of swimming pool photography in Palm Springs. Here's an image that describes what I liked about this period:

Walter Hopps, the curator-genius who steered the gallery in its radical early days, originally supported his art habit by working as a psych-ward orderly. Kienholz lived, as he put it, “on the fringes of society, like a termite,” so poor that he bartered a painting for the removal of an aching tooth. Irwin made his money winning dance contests—the lindy mostly—and betting on horses. Billy Al Bengston was so broke that he couldn’t afford a battery for his car: The art school dropout parked his ’37 Pontiac facing downhill, nose toward the Malibu surf, so he could roll-start it.

Here's something art critic Dave Hickey just told the New York Times:

Wildman Ed Kienholz
“It’s corny,” said Dave Hickey, an art critic and a professor in the art and art history department at the University of New Mexico. “It’s the sort of thing that Denver would do. They would do Mountain Standard Time. It is ’50s boosterish, and I would argue largely unnecessary.”

You be the judge.

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