PST: The young artists’ perspective
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The intimate connection between then and now becomes only more clear as the Pacific Standard Time Performance Festival kicks off this weekend and seminal works from the late 20th century are recreated all over town, often by or with the help of artists at the forefront of the 21st: the students, protégés and fans of the Judy Chicagos, Suzanne Lacys and Richard Jacksons of the PST world.
Sculptor and performance artist Liz Glynn immersed herself in archived documentation of L.A.’s first major performance art festival, Public Spirit, in 1980, for her project Spirit Resurrection, which established an open source, Web-based platform to encourage and facilitate the recreation of many of the original works (www.spiritresurrection.org).
“One thing I thought was really interesting working on that archive was how similar it felt to how my friends organize things,” she says. “There’s a letter to the artists: ‘You’ve got to take care of your own stuff. If you want money, charge a couple bucks at the door. We love you, we’re stretched really thin, so we can’t do too much for you but it’s great that you’re doing this.’ Not unlike a lot of things I’ve been involved with here. It was artists asking other artists asking their friends, a lot of things happening really last minute.”
The opportunity to engage with these early works in a direct and very tactile way — through recreation — is clearly one of the highlights of the Pacific Standard Time experience for those artists who’ve been involved. “I’m very aware that I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing if it weren’t for the pioneers,” says Alexandra Grant, a painter who collaborated with Channing Hansen to recreate Faith Wilding’s 1972 ‘Womb Room’ at Night Gallery (up through Thursday) and will also be participating in ‘Tirs: Reloaded,’ the recreation of Niki de Saint Phalle’s 1962 shooting pieces. “So there’s a level of gratitude and humility, being asked to do these projects. And then there’s this other level of grappling with feminism now. What did it mean then and how do you translate it forward 40 years? How do we talk about equality in gender, race and class now?”
For more on the reactions of today’s young artists to the broad PST enterprise, here’s an Arts and Books story.
-- Holly Myers