By Alesandra Dubin Posted October 4, 2011, 2:38 PM EDT
“Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980"—the Southern California region-wide initiative showcasing the rise of the Los Angeles art scene at more than 60 exhibitions and institutions—is now upon us. And kicking off the massive cultural collaboration on Sunday evening was the Getty Center, which initiated the whole project, with a massive party for 1,500. For the grand production and design, trustee Maria Hummer-Tuttle brought in J. Ben Bourgeois Productions Inc., which worked with Getty Foundation director Deborah Marrow and J. Paul Getty Trust vice president of communications Ron Hartwig.
On a warm and starry evening in town—which punctuated the L.A.-ness of the experience—celebrities, artists, patrons of the arts, and museum and civic leaders came together for a champagne reception on the Getty's outdoor plaza at 7 p.m. Promptly at 7:45 the lights dimmed for a dramatic reveal: Projections showcasing the post-war artworks and other imagery blanketed the Getty's walls and grounds, while dramatic narration described the project along with music. “We didn't want it to be a slide presentation,” Bourgeois said. “It was really a light and sound show.”
The show's finale was a montage of L.A. freeway footage cut with a quote paraphrased from Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin, who said: “The whole notion of turning Southern California into one big extended museum with the freeways functioning as the hallways between the galleries, it's just a very exciting idea.” Bourgeois said of the projection finale, “Our [version of] fireworks are the freeways and cars.”
With that, dozens of projected, moving arrows on the facade directed guests to the museum's entry doors, where attendees could view the Getty's Pacific Standard Time exhibitions “From Start to Finish: De Wain Valentines Gray Column,” “Greetings from L.A., Artists and Publics, 1950-1980,” and the art and sculpture overview “Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970.”
J. Ben Bourgeois was the executive producer and creative director for the event, and Colleen Downs the project manager. David Corwin was the senior editor for the projections, Kate Johnson the editor, and William Joseph the music editor.
Also open were buffets and bars from Bon Appetit designed around the decades covered in Pacific Standard Time's scope. For instance, the '40s area had a U.S.O. theme with red, white, and blue detailing. The '50s area was set up like a soda shop, complete with french fries and root-beer floats—with macarons in the shape of cheeseburgers offered for dessert. The '60s buffet was designed like a kitschy residential kitchen that served up mashed potatoes, veggies, roast beef, and apple pie for dessert. The '70s area had a disco theme, and the '80s area was decked with neon colors and signs. On the main stage, the Splash performed a set with tunes and costumes that rotated through the decades every half hour.
Among the attendees were Cheech Marin, Angela Lansbury, Mayor Anotonio Villaraigosa, J. Paul Getty Trust president and C.E.O. James Cuno, Lacma director and C.E.O. Michael Govan, and MOCA director Jeffrey Dietch. Tiffany was the evening's sponsor, and Bank of America is sponsoring the whole initiative.