Artist Michael Heizer’s enormous new work on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art required a 340-ton boulder as its centerpiece. The boulder had to be transported over 100 miles from its quarry. At first, I was very interested in this rock. It’s huge! But soon I became more interested in the city’s reaction to the rock. So this film documents the final few miles of the rock’s journey, but it also documents the people who came out to be a part of the great Los Angeles rock transport. The film is part documentary and part personal impression. The simple fact of the matter is that the rock’s arrival is an unusual milestone in the life of this city. You can tell that simply by looking at the faces in my film.
Pacific Standard Time is a massive overview of Los Angeles art from 1945 to 1980. At least sixty galleries and museums are taking part over the next few months. I have already been to the largest exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Getty Center. The whole thing is a lot of fun and I have discovered artists I never knew about before. There are magnificent things on display and the curators have also published big books to go along with each exhibit. I seriously recommend that you always get the books because they have far more information in them than the exhibits themselves. I view it as my own effort to compile a record of this unique regional art show.
You can find almost everything you need at the Pacific Standard Time web site.
This film was put together for the Getty Center’s flagship exhibit, Crosscurrents, which covers 1950 to 1970. It’s a very nice little documentary about some of the major art developments in Los Angeles.
Pacific Standard Time, the roaringly cheerful celebration by Southern California of its own art from the late 40s through the early 80s is releasing short videos to pump everyone up for its brand of art. I should be horrified by this silly video, but I’m not. I kind of like Baldessari’s big ass head on the wall. It works all the way up until he says ‘Art should be fun.’ Yeah, really? I dunno. Sounds like the kind of thing you say to an idiot.
But whatever. I’m going to see a lot of the exhibitions that are part of this festival. Should be really great.
As I was driving yesterday, I was thinking about my latest film work and muddling through half-formed thoughts about how, whether anyone likes it or not, Los Angeles is the center of art in the United States. New York has become too much associated with the 20th century’s industrial approach to art. Los Angeles, it seemed to me inside my comfortable car, is where it’s at.
Well, there you have it.
Enjoy the gift, Los Angeles, because you’ve earned it.
If you want to learn a lot more about Mapplethorpe and an incredible drive for artistic expression, read the National Book Award winning memoir by Patti Smith, Just Kids.
Walking After Having Seen Gigantic John Baldessari