Art Platform–Los Angeles and "Pacific Standard Time": Reshaping LA's Art Scene
By Sue Hostetler
Two Artful Newcomers
And now, the proverbial top threatens to blow off late this month with the opening of “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980”—a massive collaborative, multi-institution project, which is an initiative of The Getty Research Institute—as well as the unveiling of Southern California’s newest art fair, Art Platform–Los Angeles.
Shaun Caley Regen in front of Elliott Hundley’s The Lightning’s Bride at Regen Projects II
|Catherine Deneuve, B & Bewitch by Robert Heinecken, on view at Art Platform–Los Angeles|
Opening officially October 1 (previews begin Friday, September 30), Art Platform–Los Angeles debuts Downtown at the L.A. Mart and will feature 70 to 75 galleries focused on recognized and emerging local contemporary artists. On September 30, “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980” (a six-month-long initiative) also kicks off with simultaneous exhibitions and programs at an unprecedented 60 cultural institutions across Southern California, celebrating postwar work and the LA art scene from 1945–1980.
“If you’re from LA, you have this feeling something very special is happening in our city right now,” says Adam Gross, executive director of Art Platform–Los Angeles and former MOCA staff member. “This is our time to shine, and Art Platform is providing a rallying point. The core of the fair is to contextualize what is going on in the LA art world.” By working with local nonprofit organizations to make sitespecific exhibitions and recent MFA graduates to create installations, as well as by providing access to the best private collections and critically acclaimed work being produced locally, the fair seeks to underscore Los Angeles as an influential art center. Gross emphasizes bringing an international fair to town was really just the next logical step: “A great fair is part of the maturation of any great art scene,” he says.
Deitch, LA’s unofficial art community poster boy, says he is in favor of it all. “I am embracing everyone who comes to participate in the Los Angeles art world with a positive and entrepreneurial attitude. It’s going to make the whole situation [in LA] that much more dynamic.” Cliff Einstein, local collector, chairman emeritus of MOCA and avid supporter of the new fair, concurs. “I think we can give the visitor a very complete experience—the chance to engage with the artists and experience large private collections installed in some of the country’s most striking examples of residential architecture.” Maria Arena Bell, current cochair of the MOCA board and influential art-world advocate adds, “Having a serious art fair join the calendar is important. There are high hopes for it and a great deal of enthusiasm as we head into fall.”
Art for Art's Sake?
But let us not forget, art fairs are about commerce, and as Andy Warhol cleverly said, “Being good at business is the most fascinating kind of art.” To be sure, LA has always been a city of industry—from gold mining and oil drilling to orange farming and motion pictures—but can this city actually sell world-class contemporary art? Will the international dealers and collectors—even the notoriously “over-faired” East Coast hedge-fund buyers—embrace a new art show here? Gross clearly thinks so, and of course it doesn’t hurt the fair is owned by the deep-pocketed Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI), producer of eight other art fairs, including the well-regarded Armory Show in NYC. “Our seasoned operations team at the Armory has great relationships with artists and dealers. By attracting the best and most innovative galleries and utilizing the resources MMPI can bring to bear differentiates us from other fairs in LA,” says Gross. “On Friday, September 30 we’re all opening—Art Platform, Pulse, ArtLA and ‘Pacific Standard Time.’ If you’re in LA, there’s only one place you’re going to be, and that’s Downtown. What we’ve been able to do is create a critical mass of events you can’t ignore.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTOPHER KILKUS FOR ALLYSSA PIZER MANAGEMENT (GROSS); BETH COLLER (EINSTEINS); CHRISTOPHER KILKUS FOR ALYSSA PIZER MANAGEMENT
(REGEN, BELL, DEITCH); CATHERINE OPIE ARTWORKS COURTESY OF REGEN
PROJECTS, LOS ANGELES © CATHERINE OPIE