PST at the Getty Museum

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The Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time, or PST, is dedicated this year to what they call LA/LA, Latino and Latin American cultures and their relationships to Los Angeles. Funds from the Getty have helped fund some 70 shows of mostly modern or contemporary art around Southern California. But what is happening at the Getty Museum?

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Golden Kingdoms:
Octopus Frontlet, 300–600
Gold, chrysocolla, shells; H: 27.9 x W: 43.2 x D: 4.4 cm (11 x 17 x 1 3/4 in.)
Museo de la Nación, Lima, Peru, Ministerio de Cultura del Perú

There are four shows. The big draw is certain to be Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas with more than 300 pieces tracing the development of luxury in the Americas from about 1000 BC to the arrival of Europeans in the early sixteenth century.

The ritual objects and jewelry were made of gold, appealing to divine as well as human tastes, and the Peruvian Moche are considered masters for their work between 500 and 850 AD. But gold was not the only marker of status.

In Andean culture, it was the brilliant, iridescent feathers of exotic birds that commanded respect. From Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula intricate pieces were made of gold while across what is now Mexico, jade was considered sacred and valuable for its green color evoking fertility. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to witness the evolution of prowess and taste in different populations over 1500 years.

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Photography in Argentina:
Guadalupe Miles, Argentine, born 1971
Sin título de la serie Chaco / Untitled from the series Chaco, 2001, printed 2017
Inkjet print; 100 x 100 cm (39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in.)
Guadalupe Miles
© Guadalupe Miles

Another exhibition is Photography in Argentina: 1850-2010, Contradiction and Continuity. It includes prints by 60 artists to reveal that country’s unique history and position in South America. Since the 1810 independence from Spain, the country developed a strong economic system and with a population of largely European immigrants. The situation differentiated their culture from that of other nations in the region.

Many of the photographs are staged while others document aspects of life in the region, whether reinforcing notions of the gauchos on the pampas or the influences of Eva Perón. One thing is certain. It is not a well-known subject and is sure to shed light on Argentinian history of the past 150 years.

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Making Art Concrete:
Hermelindo Fiaminghi
Brazilian, 1920 - 2004
Alternado 2 / Alternated 2, 1957
Alkyd on hardboard: 61.9 × 62 × 4.5 cm framed (24 3/8 × 24 7/16 × 1 3/4 in.)
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Promised gift to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, through the
Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Catalina Cisneros-Santiago

Argentina and Brazil were the site of the Concrete art movement, geometric abstraction made between 1946 and 1962. Works from the highly regarded collection of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros are being presented in conjunction with the Conservation Department of the Getty because some were made with industrial or other materials not associated with traditional art. In addition to studying the problems and possibilities of such materials, the show offers an atypical take on the evolution of modern abstraction.

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Metropolis in America:
Bertram G. Goodhue
American, 1869–1924
California Building and Tower, Panama-California Exposition, Balboa Park, San Diego, 1915
Hand-colored illustration
San Diego Panama-California Exposition, souvenir book

An exhibition at the Getty Research Institute, The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830–1930, documents how six cities — Buenos Aires, Havana, Lima, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile — were transformed over time from Spanish colonial and European influences to the beginnings of modernism. Books, maps, prints, photographs and other archival materials were trace the evolution. All shows are on view through January, 2018.