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They really know how to put on a show: PST opening celebrations at the Getty Center last year

Pacific Standard Time (PST), the Getty-funded collaboration of southern California’s institutions, is estimated to have added $280.5m to the local economy, according to an economic impact study released by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation today, 1 November. Published a little over a year after the art extravaganza opened, the study also found that museums and galleries taking part in PST spent a total of $29m during the six-month initiative, but this resulted in $111.5m in spending by the estimated 1.8 million visitors to all the exhibitions and events. Around 2,490 jobs were supported by the project, creating $101.3m in income and $19.4m in tax revenues to state and local governments.

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Helen Stoilas
The Art Newspaper


The crowd during the Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980 opening. (Ryan Miller / WireImage / September 21, 2012)

This time last year, the Southern California art world was poised to open an unprecedented set of exhibitions: Pacific Standard Time, the $10-million Getty-funded initiative consisting of some 65 museum shows exploring the region’s art post-World War II.

The project’s organizers identified a handful of goals: encouraging scholarship about Southern California art history, preserving related archives, raising L.A’s profile as a cultural capital, stimulating cultural tourism and boosting museum attendance.

So what did it actually achieve?

On most counts, the project has been considered a fruitful and even enviable model for a regionwide arts collaboration. The exhibitions at museums from San Diego to Santa Barbara, each exploring a different facet of Southern California art history from 1945 to 1980, did draw international art-world attention and media coverage, from a special issue of Art in America magazine to reviews in German newspapers.

Several critics and curators have said that because of PST, textbook accounts of 20th century art history, which tend to be rich with innovations by New York artists but thin on their L.A. contemporaries, will need to be rewritten.

As Helen Molesworth, the chief curator of Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, put it, “The shows made such a strong case for some [California] artists that you just can’t leave them out anymore.”

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Jori Finkel
Los Angeles Times


De Wain Valentine’s Red Concave Circle, 1970, and guests at the Getty’s PST launch event in October

The J. Paul Getty Trust is gearing up to organise a sequel to its successful collaborative project, “Pacific Standard Time (PST)”, in “five or six years’ time”, says the trust’s chief executive and president James Cuno. “We recognise that [it] is just too good to let drop.” In the meantime, he says, the trust plans to keep the momentum going by organising smaller projects on related themes with “half a dozen cultural institutions”, which are to be announced, under the title “Pacific Standard Time Presents”.
“We are just starting conversations with the lead partners of PST”—the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) and the Hammer Museum—Cuno says. The trust filed a trademark application for the name “Pacific Standard Time Presents” with the US Patent and Trademark Office in April.

The rumour mill in Los Angeles is turning about a possible theme for a sequel. The original event was “ten years in the making”, as Cuno points out, and grew out of a project to rescue and research artists’ archives. Therefore, the Getty has been reluctant to force a theme so early in the planning stages. But there has been speculation that the next collaboration could have a wider geographic sweep, to include other regions in California, or expand further to incorporate the whole of the Pacific Rim. When asked to comment, Cuno says: “We’re just beginning the conversation.”

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Helen Stoilas and Javier Pes. Museums
The Art Newspaper

When the many-headed exhibition extravaganza “Pacific Standard Time” opens in October 2011, some 40 Southern California museums and nonprofit galleries will offer shows focusing in one manner or another on the origins of the art scene here, from 1945 to 1980.

Since the first news conference in 2008, it has been clear that “Pacific Standard Time” is easily the biggest collaboration that Southern California museums have undertaken. Now that collaboration is getting even bigger, thanks to two new initiatives.

The Getty Trust, which has been coordinating and funding the project through its different branches, has confirmed there will be a performance and public art festival scheduled for nine days at the end of January 2012.

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Jori Finkel
Los Angeles Times

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