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Young Local Artists Critique 'Pacific Standard Time': 'It Is Only Superstars Promoting Other Superstars'

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Still life with murals from LACMA's Sandra de la Loza installation
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The sprawling, massive and sometimes overwhelming Pacific Standard Time art festival has focused its attention on the birth of the Southern California art scene from the end of World War II until 1980.

So what exactly do the heirs to this era think of the festival? The Los Angeles Times spoke to some of the young artists: Almost everyone found something to love in the festival, but their biggest beef was not with the festival itself but its marketing:


The majority of young artists interviewed spoke of PST with qualified enthusiasm. Many were dismissive of the manner in which it's been packaged for the public and suspicious of the tendency toward nostalgic sentimentalism. Many were simply overwhelmed. But nearly all were exhilarated by one thing or another and commended the efforts of individual exhibitions to bring under-recognized artists to light. The strongest criticism — by far — concerned the marketing. "It is only men, and it is only superstars promoting other superstars," says Alexandra Grant, 38, a text-based artist who works in painting and sculpture. "There is a sense of insecurity. 'People won't understand if we use a less-well-known person' — well, that's actually part of the problem. PST is about people other than the people who are already well known."


The favorite exhibitions for the young artists weren't the white male superstars: "Asco: Elite of the Obscure" at LACMA; "Now Dig This" at the Hammer Museum; and "Mex/LA: Mexican Modernism(s) in Los Angeles" at the Museum of Latin American Art.