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Getty's Pacific Standard Time sequel to have L.A., Latin America theme

February 26, 2013|By Jori Finkel
  • This 1933 photograph by Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, "Daughter of the Dancers," belongs to the Getty Museum.
This 1933 photograph by Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, "Daughter… (Colette Urbaitel / Archiveo…)

After dozens of meetings and a few orphaned ideas, the Getty has settled on a theme for a 2017 sequel to the 2011-12 museum exhibition extravaganza known as Pacific Standard Time. It will be "Los Angeles and Latin America," or "L.A./L.A." for short.

"The fact that nearly half of the population of Los Angeles has roots in Latin America is so profound that it warrants a major exhibition and research project with accompanying publications," said Getty Trust head James Cuno. "These are complicated roots, over many generations, and relationships between the U.S. and those antecedent countries have changed considerably over time, so we want to be respectful of those complexities."

Arguably, the many-headed collaboration of Pacific Standard Time has enough complexity built into its structure to take on a complex subject. Last time around, about 60 arts institutions in Southern California participated, receiving some $11 million in grants from the Getty to research and develop exhibitions on post-war art in Los Angeles, 1945 to 1980. (A smaller spinoff featuring less than a dozen shows on modern architecture, called "PST Presents," is taking place this year.)

FULL COVERAGE: Pacific Standard Time

For the sequel, the Getty is imposing no date restrictions: "We're looking at everything from the earliest manifestations of culture such as pre-Columbian artifacts to the present, whatever makes sense and makes for a strong exhibition," said Cuno.

Asked if the Latin American art theme could include Chicano art, typically carved out as a separate field, he replied, "Last time we had shows in that area, and certainly we can imagine doing so this time as well."

Cuno said that curators from three "planning partners," LACMA, Hammer and MOCA, took part in discussions with Getty leaders about the topic and have already been invited to submit grants for research. He expects to announce the results of those grants and invite other institutions to join in this summer. (He said the overall budget depended on the number of participants.)

Of the three initial partner museums, LACMA has been the most active on the Latin American, Latino and Chicano front with recent shows on the legacy of Quetzalcoatl, women surrealists in Mexico and the U.S., Olmec sculptures and the contemporary artist collective ASCO.

Outside California, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has been the most visible leader in research in the field, devoting many years and millions of dollars to publishing an online archive and sourcebooks for documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino art. Some funding for that project came from the Getty.

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