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How Art is Like Velveeta Cheese: Jason Schwartzman Talks to John Baldessari

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Actor Jason Schwartzman has a conversation with the disembodied head of artist John Baldessari in the second of four shorts that are being put out to promote the regionwide collaboration Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. from 1945 to 1980.

More than 60 arts organizations from San Diego to Santa Barbara are participating in Pacific Standard Time, which celebrates the dawn of Los Angeles as a globally important art center in the post-war era. It is the result of nearly a decade of research by the Getty Research Institute.

This PSA reaches out to all the would-be the art-haters or the art-fearers. Schwartzman skips out on a trip to LACMA only to be haunted by a hologram of Baldessari, who tries to lure him into the museum with a great cheese metaphor:

Metaphorically, if you give some kid some gorgonzola cheese, they're going to spit it out. If you give them some Velveeta, they'll say, 'Mmm, yummy,' and then maybe, you know, when they're young adults, they're really going to savor some gorgonzola cheese. Art's like that.
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If you like that cheese metaphor or John Baldessari himself, he's coming to the Hammer Museum on Tuesday to speak with the Los Angeles Times' art critic Christopher Knight. And if you check out Pacific Standard Time, it should be hard to miss Baldessari. He's all over the place.

Pacific Standard Time is supposed to open next month (meaning tomorrow!) but a few cultural institutions (here, here and here) have their exhibits open, if you're ready. What is Velveeta or gorgonzola is your call.