Museum Musings: “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A 1945-1980”

If you haven’t planned a trip to Southern California in the next six months, you may just may rush off to book your flights [and surprise me at my cash register with a comment or a question which is so hilarious only you could think of it], once you hear about Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A 1945-1980, which opened across Southern California last weekend.

"Pacific Standard Time."

What’s Pacific Standard Time if it isn’t a time zone?

Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions i.e museums, and art galleries including those at universities, across Southern California – from Santa Barbara, to greater Los Angeles, down to San Diego and across to Palm Springs – all celebrating the birth of art in Los Angeles after the Second World War, through exhibitions, performances, symposia, and lectures.

Christopher Knight, the L.A Times art critic wrote: “There’s never been anything like this display of  “cultural archeology” before. Not just in L.A, but anywhere.

Pacific Standard Time includes

  • ceramics
  • developments from pop to post-minimalism
  • modernist architecture and design
  • multi-media installations
  • films of the African American L.A. Rebellion
  • feminist activities of the Women’s building
  • Chicano performance art
  • Japanese American design

While most of the Museums will be showing the few famous contemporary artists of the time such as David Hockney, John Baldessari, and Ed Ruscha –

John Baldessari will be at eleven places, Ed Ruscha at ten, Judy Chicago at eight

many of the museums are giving solo shows to unknowns, for example, Oscar Castillo, who photographed L.A.’s Chicano community, will be at the Fowler Museum.

As of today, October 3rd 2011, thirty-six exhibitions have already opened.  I wonder how many shows Mr F and I will get to in the six months?  We’re going to start at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)’s exhibition: California Design, 1930-1965: ‘Living in a Modern Way’ which Christopher Knight described thus:

Say “Midcentury Modern” and you’re saying L.A. design, as WW II technologies were put to peace-time use, often inflected by postwar optimism and fueled by the city’s phenomenal growth.


Dan Johnson's Hayden Hall Desk. (Museum Associates / LACMA)

To answer your question, yes, our Museum is part of the show.   In the main exhibition gallery which opened on October 1st and goes through February 5th, there are paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and large-scale polyester resin “Light and Space art” from many artists I’ve never heard of, but no doubt will get to know very well over the next few months.  I love exhibitions where the artists wander through the galleries.

some of the mugs for sale

Our buyers have found some great 50’s and 60’s “stuff” for us to sell in our store:  mugs, clocks, jewelry, tee-shirts, magnets. postcards, et al but the music’s my fave.

What a great trip down memory lane to stand behind my cash register listening to those old hits, particularly the one’s from the 1960’s, and what a refreshing change from the same old boring stuff we normally listen to day after day after day to hear The Beatles, Chubby CheckerLet’s twist again“, Diana Ross & The Supremes: “Stop in the Name of Love“, or Janis Joplin‘s Me and Bobby McGee

Busted flat in baton rouge, waiting for a train
And i’s feelin’ nearly as faded as my jeans.
Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained,
It rode us all the way in to new orleans.

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna,
An’ i’s playin’ soft while bobby sang the blues, yeah.
Windshield wipers slapping time, i was holding bobby’s hand in mine,
We sang every song that driver knew.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free.
Yeah, an’ feeling good was easy, lord, bobby sang the blues,
You know feeling good was good enough for me, hmm mm,
Good enough for me and my bobby mcgee.

From the kentucky coal mines to the california sun,
Bobby shared the secrets of my soul.
Through all kinds of weather, through everything that we done,
Said bobby baby, he kept me from the cold …

Resin sculptures for sale

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf who are one of the sponsors, have produced a special tea for the exhibition.


These resin table “sculptures” (on the right) are beautiful: the colored lines move in wavy lines when you move.


For a complete list of the exhibitions and programs throughout Southern California, click on this link Pacific Standard Time, i.e.

to end, The Mamas & The Papas singing “California Dreamin‘” at The Hollywood Palace

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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26 Responses to Museum Musings: “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A 1945-1980”

  1. souldipper says:

    Janis! What a perfect pick! I saw her in Calgary in the late 60s and the energy was unreal. Of course, the Southern Comfort was right there for her to take swigs.

    That would be a super show to see, Rosie! I would get lost in it!

    Many thanks.

    • dearrosie says:

      Wow you are lucky to have seen Janis performing. Was she singing in a small club? You know she died when she was 27 as did Amy Winehouse? Much too young…

      if you have a few minutes [hah!] you should read Christopher Knight’s articles about the show.

      • Cindy says:

        Very lucky to have seen her perform. James Gurley (of Big Brother and the Holding Company) was disparaging of Janis’s rendition of the chorus in the song and is reported to have said ‘these she goes, wailing and panting and doing her Lassie act). Enjoy the exhibition, Rosie, hope you’ll share with us 🙂

      • dearrosie says:

        Hi Cindy,
        I love James Gurley’s quote. If I was a teenager and heard someone’s singing described as:
        “there she goes, wailing and panting and doing her Lassie act”
        I’d be sure to go hear her sing.

        I promise to share everything I see of the exhibition with y’all 🙂

      • souldipper says:

        Janis and a group Canada especially loved,The Band, performed at the football stadium. It was packed – the entire field was taken over. No seats – all on the grass.

      • dearrosie says:

        I wonder whether they’d put on a concert these days with folks sitting on the grass in a football stadium.

  2. Bubo Capensis says:

    I think the spirit of this period in art is what drew me to America, to the West Coast. I’m going to enjoy as much of it as I can, with my harpoon in my dirty red bandana; (Thanks, Kris!) I love the innate, unpretentious, sunny optimism of the artists and craftspeople, their engagement with materials, with the techniques of working metals, plastics, wood and fabric inspired by the engineering miracles evolving from the aerospace industry, all centered a few miles from where I’m writing. My heroes are people like Charles and Ray Eames, and the socialist ethic of the Case Study Housing Program ( It’s going to be a good time.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Bubo Capensis (may I call you Bubo?)
      It’s sure going to be a wonderful few months over here. We’d better make sure to take our vitamins, so we have the stamina to see as many shows as possible.

      Thank you for sharing the story of Charles and Ray Eames, and the Case Study Houses. I took a quick look at the Eames foundation link. It’s interesting that they designed the house, lived there all their lives and after their death’s the house is now a museum in MY city and I’ve never been there. Mr F and I are definitely going to see the house.

      • Bubo Capensis says:

        Hi Dearrosie ( may I call you dear, dear?) – Bubo is fine, it’s a family name. Booby, Bubba, Booberino, the Boobmeister (I’m proud of that one) or Bubbeleh, I’ll answer to all.
        Yes, we’d better strap on our wings and preen our feathers to avoid the cross town LA traffic to see some of these marvels. Thankfully, the Eames house has some splendid, beloved trees in which to perch!

      • dearrosie says:

        Thanks for the explanation of your name. I’ll stick to Bubo.
        Knowing how folks always put off coming to our exhibitions until the last weekend, I imagine the first couple of months before the Christmas holidays will be the best time to see the shows.

        Now I can look forward to the Eames house plus garden. J’adore trees, especially splendid trees.

  3. magsx2 says:

    How lucky you are to be able to see these exhibits. I would love to go and see something like that. I really like the resin table sculptors, they are so different, and would definitely look great if you had the right place for them.

    Listening to the “old” music, would also suit me to no end. I also enjoyed the video’s, I haven’t heard those songs for ages. I have a feeling Janis will be playing in my mind for awhile. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      Our plan is to go to LACMA to see the furniture on Saturday. I will definitely let you know.

      It’s such a welcome change to listen to the sixties music in the store, that I’m not the only one to enjoy it. I was “twisting” along with Chuck Berry last week and saw some teenagers staring at me as if I were a crazy lady…

  4. Jo says:

    Your blog reads as an enticing invitation.
    I’ll definitely be heading down to L.A. now!!

    • dearrosie says:

      I’m happy to hear you’ve accepted the invitation Jo 🙂 Which shows are you going to see? I met a woman at my cash register today who’d been to the LACMA exhibition and she said it was marvellous.

  5. Heather says:

    What fun to hear this music and see the Mamas and Papas perform!!
    Enjoy all the exhibitions – sounds wonderful!
    California dreamin’….

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Heather,
      Have you booked your plane ticket?
      We always play music in the main store, but only medieval chants, classical music, Christmas songs etc that’s why it’s such a treat to hear The Beatles and the Mamas and the Papas in the “1960’s Mix”.

  6. Priya says:

    I’d love to book my plane ticket, no matter if I can’t come up with a hilarious something. This is the place to be! But I am going to visit all of these places through you, aren’t I? Such fun! Can’t wait for more. If possible, do give us some more pictures of the mugs and those resin installations. Please?

    • dearrosie says:

      Priya, after being blogging buddies all these months I’d love to invite you to my home. There’s an open invitation to you – and your husband – anytime you feel like coming to LA.

      I promise I will share the places we see…. though I must say it’s always hard for me to chose between a museum or going on a hike. I’d much rather go on a hike after spending all day and every day at a museum!

  7. Peter Robin says:

    Hi Cousin rosanne,
    Hope that you are keeping well?

    So your still working at the museum then? youve been there a while now havent you?
    I loved Janis Joplin’s singing back then and ‘California Dreamin’ is also a favorite of mine, great times.
    Pams mom is over from New zealand right now and is staying with us for a while.
    I enjoy reading your blog and I hope that things are going well for you and your family.

    Lots of love from cousins Peter & Pam. xx

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Peter,
      Thank you for writing. I’m glad to know you enjoy reading my blog and that you liked the music I chose for this post.

      I have been at the Museum for a long time – it’s over 10 years already.

  8. Val says:

    Wow, you’re going to be busy with all this – looks fascinating. I love those mugs (and I wonder what’s going to be on the Tshirts!) I’m greatly into late sixties nostalgia, so the Mamas and Papas took me back. Janis Joplin was never quite my cup of tea but some while back I found a singer who is extraordinarily like her in voice and some of the songs… and is a guy! Weird. I’ve a video of him in a post here: Asaf Avidan and the Mojos in case you’re curious.

  9. dearrosie says:

    Hi Val,
    I also like the mugs. I think I’m going to buy us a couple of them.We have two different tee shirts. I’ll take photos of the shirts at all museums we get to.
    If they’ll let me.

    Thanks for the link to the video of Asaf Avidan and the Mojos. I was curious and went to your site to hear him sing – sounds surprisingly like Janis. I wonder whether he did that on purpose?

  10. bronxboy55 says:

    It would be great to have six months free to do nothing but travel from one museum to another, soaking in the southern California weather and culture. I hope you get to visit as many as you can, Rosie, and that we’ll have a chance to read about them on your blog. I’m sure it’ll be entertaining and educational, as always.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Charles,
      Imagine six months with nothing to do but going to museums and enjoying the California winter. What’s not to like?
      I’ve met several people who’ve gone to close to a dozen shows already! Good grief!

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