L.A. galleries enter the ‘Pacific Standard Time’ zone


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Pacific Standard Time is not just about museums anymore.

The sweeping Getty-funded arts initiative will culminate this fall, as nearly 50 museums and other nonprofit spaces will stage exhibitions examining one facet or another of art history in Southern California, from 1945-1980. Now several commercial galleries, fueled by their own relationships with pioneering artists, are getting in the spirit as well.

A couple of leading galleries, like Gagosian and Regen Projects, do not have big historical shows planned for the October kickoff of Pacific Standard Time. ‘Our artists are from a different generation -- Cathy Opie was still in high school then,’ says Shaun Caley Regen, noting that her first big fall exhibition will feature Andrea Zittel.


But many other galleries are firming up plans for historic-minded shows. At least two will show California hard-edge abstraction, which flourished in the 1960s: Louis Stern is featuring work by 85-year-old Claremont-based painter Karl Benjamin in October, while Peter Goulds at L.A. Louver is planning to showcase classic paintings by the late Frederick Hammersley — alongside his lesser-known figurative drawings — in early 2012.

Marc Selwyn says he’s working on a big October show of 1950s paintings by the late Lee Mullican, known for mystical abstract paintings with grooved surfaces and organic motifs. The 1950s was a prime time for the artist, producing work that Times art critic Christopher Knight called “equal — or even superior — to anything from that period” by Milton Avery, Adolph Gottlieb and Robert Motherwell, to name a few, and the works are increasingly hard to find.

For this show, Selwyn says he will have to “borrow back pieces I’ve sold over the years because there’s so little left in the estate.” He will also borrow the 1951 canvas “Peyote Candle,” now at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, from the artist’s widow.

Michael Kohn is starting the fall season with Joe Goode’s black paintings from 1977-78, canvases that he punctured and slashed. “I don’t know if it’s because of my age or time marching on, but I have a new appreciation of his work and its context — an offshoot of Light and Space but also part of this whole process art, with a dash of conceptual art, a dash of minimalism, and a whole lot of spiritualism characteristic of California.”

Click here for the full story with more teasers from galleries, and to hear their leading concern about the upcoming arts extravaganza.

--Jori Finkel



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