The Getty-led effort to celebrate Los Angeles' midcentury art and artists looks to be a pretty big hit so far with the museums that are participating. But there are skeptics, as seen in today's New York Times.
Pacific Standard Time, as this festival is known, is an exhaustive accounting of the birth of the Los Angeles-area art scene, but it is also a statement of self-affirmation by a region that, at times, appears to feel underappreciated as a serious culture center.
This multi-museum event, in all of its Los Angeles-like sprawl, suggests a bit of overcompensation from a city that has long been overshadowed by the New York art establishment, a place that — arguably unfairly — still suffers from a reputation of being more about tinsel than about serious art, and where interest in culture starts and ends with movie grosses and who is on the cover of Vanity Fair.
“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.”
Los Angeles is awash in throwback boosterism these days — just check out Twitter and Facebook and look for the exclamation marks to see plenty — but that's another story. BTW, Jeffrey Deitch of MOCA says in the NYT that L.A. today reminds him of New York 30 years ago: "Echo Park, Silver Lake, Highland Park, and a lot of this reminds me of New York in the 1970s, where artists lived in real interesting neighborhoods near each other, and the rents aren’t really that high. Compared to New York City, compared to London, the rents here are affordable. A studio space that in Brooklyn would be $6,000 a month you can get here for $1,000.”