Pacific Standard Time has arrived! Sort of. At least for the press.
This morning the Getty held the opening press conference for the huge, multi-museum, Getty-led retrospective on California art from 1945-1980. This week is press preview week, as we get carted around on shuttles taking us from museum to museum. The public doesn't get a crack until the official opening on Saturday.
The Getty also unveiled off its PST shows, the main ones being “Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970,” which has the art, and “Greetings from L.A.: Artists and Publics, 1950-1980,” which has the history.
Here are ten revelations from the opening press conference and the tours through the exhibits:
10. That the Getty would allow kooky assemblage artist George Herms to start off the press conference. He held a wooden cut-out of a guitar with windchimes attached to it, singing odd lyrics like the “Pacific Standard Time blues” and “I wish they all could make California art.” He later through a black plastic tube to make noise like a trumpet. Good for the Getty.
9. During an opening panel (above), the Chicano performance artist Gronk (second from left) said he was obsessed with Looney Tunes: “Daffy Duck was a cartoon of color. He could talk his way out of anything.”
8. MOCA called Gronk to invite him to participate in a show and he told MOCA he wanted to paint a painting the size of a football field. They asked what he needed. He said coffee and donuts. But he asked for Winchell's donuts, when he should have asked for donuts shipped from Paris. “At that time MOCA had money,” he says.
7. John Mason's Blue Wall claims to be an abstract expressionist ceramic work but actually looks like blue jeans.
6. Ed Kienholz's The Future as Afterthought is meant to evoke a mushroom cloud.
5. Stephan Von Huene's Tap Dancer actually tap-dances — automatically, via robotics, every half-hour.
4. Performance artist Chris Burden (above) used to air artsy commercials on late-night TV, including one of his own bare body rubbing against broken glass on the ground, and another that aired during Saturday Night Live in which he flashed the name of other artists like “Leonardo Da Vinci” and then flashed his own name.
3. LACMA director Michael Govan (pictured above in a photo from our PST preview issue) didn't cringe while looking at at Ed Ruscha's painting LACMA on Fire. He actually loves it. The image of the two together was a photographer's dream but no photos of the painting were allowed.
2. When Herms needed money he would organize raffles, calling them weird names like Earful or Waffle.
1. Getty curator Andrew Perchuk says Vija Celmins' Freeway is “the greatest picture ever made of the 405“