Hunter Drohojowska-Philp on three exhibits currently on view at LACMA as part of Pacific Standard Time.I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of Pacific Standard Time and have decided that, for me, it represents L.A.’s missing history. Especially, its art history. Scholars at the Getty Research Institute, in the course of their research, realized how little of this city’s incredibly rich art scene had been documented or archived over the years. Pacific Standard Time, or PST as it is called, essentially provided the funding for people and institutions to do research and make their findings available in the form of exhibitions and catalogues. It may sound a little dull but believe me, the results are not.
They also took on clichés about Chicano art, specifically murals. In 1974, they taped Valdez and a friend to a wall and photographed the scene as she broke away from the bonds. They called this an Instant Mural.
Since they did a number of performances and happenings that were photographed, the exhibition itself is heavy on documentation and the enormous catalog presents them as the first Chicano conceptual artists. There is much discussion of their political relevance during a turbulent time so I think it is important to emphasize that their work is also irreverent, funny and moving.
Edward Kienholz, Five Car Stud 1969–1972, Revisited, Photography by Tom Vinetz. © Kienholz
Maria Nordman, Filmroom: Smoke, 1967–Present. Photo: Courtesy of the Fundação de Serralves, Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto, Portugal
In sum, these works were created in L.A. by L.A.-based artists at important moments in their careers – and they could have been relegated to the bin of missing history if not for the opportunities provided by PST.
Banner image from Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972-1987, at LACMA