Over the last few weeks, I have been talking more and more with strangers and friends alike about PST: LA/LA, and realized that while a selected few (Latinx Arts Professionals) have been gearing up for this for the past three years, most of the city has yet to really understand what's about to be unleashed upon them (in the best of ways). Since my jam is basically democratizing art for the people, I have decided to break this down in simple terms. So brace yourself...
PST: LA/LA stands for Pacific Standard Time Latin American and Latino Art. A project sponsored by Getty and Bank of America about three years ago, which has roughly translated to a junction of events and exhibitions that seek to highlight the Latinx culture of the City of Angeles and its exchange with Latin America. Or as the Getty so eloquently puts it "a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles."
In 2014 Getty Foundation issued $8.45 million dollars in grants to 43 museums to so they could produce exhibitions that aligned with this very topic. Which means that each institution roughly received $200,000 (however smaller projects received fewer funds and for obvious reasons larger more elaborate projects got more resources | detailed breakdown here ) to produce an exhibition. Museums from San Diego to Santa Barbara were awarded the funds and a ton of amazing ideas were born.
Side note: An exhibition can run a museum easily over half a million dollars fast depending on the scope of the project, staffing capabilities, marketing campaign, publications, and bringing artwork from outside institutions, amongst many other reasons (which is why we should all support our museums either by becoming members, or by spending our time and money on their programming efforts).
But I digress, 43 institutions, $8.45 million dollars, 3y.... fast track to today and this effort like most things the Latino community is involved with exploded, in the most epic of ways. Now aside from the 43 institutions, emerged a roster of 69 galleries that will produce exhibitions along the same scope in conjunction with PST: LA/LA. And the news was just released of Latin American galleries that will come into the city and produce art pop-up spaces during the intro to PST: LA/LA as well. If you are keeping score this went from 43 to more than 120 instances, and that's just exhibitions. Let us not forget places like the Hollywood Bowl will host a concert night/opening festivity that will include artists Cafe Tacuba and La Santa Cecilia, and there will be a Launch Party at Grand Park to open the celebration.
But let's talk logistics for a minute, exhibitions as per Getty PR are due to start September 14 - 19. However, LACMAopened "Home- So Different, So Appealing" on June 11. Research funded is to inform the PST: LA/LA exhibition, but some scholars are so amazing that their efforts are informing multiple iterations. Armory, for instance, is currently exhibiting "Down and to the Left: Reflections on Mexico in the Nafta Era" (which everyone should go see because it's amazing), which is a topic of interest that sprung out of their PST: LA/LA research.
I have gotten sneak peeks at a few of the publications that will accompany the exhibition and if you are into Latinx Art, start saving $$ because your library will certainly expand in the upcoming months, Getty Publications alone is producing a handful of books and we are looking at least at 43 exhibition catalogs that will be spectacular, and then some.
As of this moment, the only real negative I've encountered comes from some of the Latinx focused institutions who have been championing this agenda for decades, as they share strong feelings about their efforts being overlooked. But let's be honest, art whether it be fine, market, or administration, etc, has historically been plagued with cultural inequality, so why not celebrate our culture being highlighted in such an epic way? To those institutions, I thank you for being on the forefront of this concern, for all your advocating for our community for the last couple of decades, and will continue to look at you after PST: LA/LA is done because you are the heart of our arts community.
Another bit of information that is unsettling to me, are the various exhibitions that have emerged this past couple of months who claim to be "reacting to PST: LA/LA" without acknowledging what PST: LA/LA is all about, or in spite of people not being familiar with something that clearly has yet to happen. But more power to all curators in this city who want to include the word "Getty" in their project description. Also, I feel a bit unsettled about some of the project which fails to highlight Latinx artists, in my mind there is some very obvious concern with choosing to work with artists who are not Latinx whose entire claim to this project is based on a single visit to Latin America during their career.
And lastly, Social Media and most major news channels have already begun to showcase PST: LA/LA, as we are in the months leading to this Latinx explosion of culture... one of my personal favorite iterations comes from a Program Assistant at the Getty who has created the IG account PacificEstandar and promises to cover the exhibitions and events of PST: LA/LA under the hashtag #WeLovePSTlala