Pacific Standard Time Party

Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Party Wows Artists, Collectors and Others in the L.A. Art Community –


Invitations to the gala opening celebration of “Pacific Standard Time” gave the first clue to the special nature of the Oct. 2 event at the Getty Center.  Packed in a plastic case, the clever invitation came as a stack of interlocking cards inspired by California designers Charles and Ray Eames and their “House of Cards” constructions of the 1950s. Aside from giving PST party details, cards depicted works by Los Angeles artists in current exhibitions.

Spearheaded by the J. Paul Getty Trust, Pacific Standard Time, a.k.a. PST, chronicles the Los Angeles art scene from 1945 to 1980, with exhibitions taking place at more than 60 cultural institutions and 70 art galleries from Santa Barbara to San Diego.  

In addition to previewing the Getty’s new art show, “Crosscurrents in L.A.Painting and Sculpture 1950-1970,” more than 1,000 party-goers, including artists, collectors, art professionals, a few actors and others, had the pleasure of touring the decades in food, entertainment and art via a sound-and-light show, dramatic enough to give meaning to the phrase, a “wow moment.”

Following a cocktail reception, the Getty went dark, and images illuminated the museum buildings, beginning in the 1940s with scenes from the evolution of California art. A narrator then transported guests through the art-filled decades, as the music of “The Doors,” “The Beach Boys,” Carlos Santana and other iconic west coast recording stars played in the background.

moving into the courtyard, guests found a 1940s USO show, a 1950s soda shop, 1960s meat and potato station, 1970s-style baked cheeses and more. As the evening progressed, a rock band took over, followed by the Latin sounds of “La Bamba.” 

Mark Siegel, chairman of the Getty’s board of trustees, said Pacific Standard Time started as an archival project, which began more than ten years ago.  Recognizing the idea as a good one, Siegel said, other organizations jumped aboard. 

Party plans, too, have been in the works for quite awhile. Event producer Ben Bourgeois said the multimedia “wow moment” was more than a year in the making, due to the complex sound, light and content requirements. “We asked 60-plus institutions for the best components from their exhibitions and then sorted them according to the decades – 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.” he said. As to the technical difficulties, he added, “Because the buildings weren’t flat surfaces, all those measurements had to be calculated so that the images would appear to be flat.”

Present for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time party were California artists John Baldessari, Larry Bell, Betye Saar, Judy Chicago, Helen Pashgian, Robert Irwin, Johnny Gonzalez, John Mason, Doug Wheeler, Richard Tuttle and George Herms; actors Lisa Edelstein of “House, M.D,” Cheech Marin and Angela Lansbury; and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin, LACMA chief executive Michael Govan, MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, Getty Trust chief executive James Cuno.

Sponsors included Bank of America, South Coast Plaza, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Tiffany & Co, and Art-Platform-Los Angeles.

To read about other Pacific Standard Time events, click here.

Photos from top: the sound-and-light show centerpiece of the Pacific Standard Time party; Robert Russell with Lisa Edelstein of “House, M.D.;” from left, Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation, with Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin and LACMA chief executive Michael Govan (Photo: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)



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Pacific Standard Time Party at the Getty

Published Oct. 4, 2011 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA