5 Can’t-Miss Events from Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the Art Extravaganza Taking Over L.A.

The ambitious collaboration runs from August 26 to March 4 at museums, galleries, and performance spaces across the city

What would happen if you took dozens of arts and cultural institutions, from the city’s biggest museums to small, quirky galleries, film archives, and performance spaces, and gave them all a single topic to each interpret in their own way? Specifically, a topic that they all have in common: this city and the people who live here. The answer is the 175 thematically-linked visual art exhibitions, screening series, concerts, dance performances and other events that make up Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

The first Pacific Standard Time ran October 2011 to April 2012 and featured 60 arts organizations, showcasing art created in Los Angeles between 1945 and 1980. Five years later, the Getty-organized initiative has returned with even more participants and a broader subject matter: an exploration of Latin American and Latinx diaspora art in all its forms, from ancient to contemporary, and how the impact of that art is experienced in Los Angeles.

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a pretty massive thing to chip away at, so we’ve picked a few highlights from the program that you will not want to miss. A complete schedule of exhibitions and events running from August 26, 2017 through March 4, 2018, at venues all over Southern California is available on the Pacific Standard Time website.

1. How to Read El Pato Pascual: Disney’s Latin America and Latin America’s Disney

Liliana Porter, Minnie/Che, 2003. Archival digital print, 2011. 4’ x 3’ x 4’.

Image courtesy of Liliana Porter

What: In 1941, the State Department commissioned a “goodwill tour” for Walt Disney and a team of 18 of his artists, musicians, and writers. The idea was to collect inspiration for what would become two Latin-themed Disney productions, Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. For this exhibition, artists working in a variety of media will confront how Disney’s iconic characters have filtered into Latin-American pop culture, and challenge the controversial depictions of South American life that appeared in those Disney films.

Where: Joint exhibitions will be staged at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House and The Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State L.A. 

When: September 9, 2017 to December 16, 2017

2. From Latin America to Hollywood: Latino Film Culture in Los Angeles, 1967 – 2017

Actor and director Edward James Olmos as El Pachuco in a scene from Zoot Suit (1981)

Image courtesy of Universal Studies Licensing LLC

What: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is rolling out its red carpet for a series of film screenings and filmmaker talk-backs, looking at the last 50 years of films by and about Latin Americans. Of particular emphasis will be an examination of the social and political movements of the 1960s and how they inspired a generation of Chicano movie-makers and the New Latin-American Cinema movement. Among the celebrity appearances will be talks from Edward James Olmos, Alfonso Cuarón, Lucrecia Martel, and Gregory Nava, and several of the prints screened will be never-publicly-seen restorations, straight out of the Academy Film Archive. There will also be a series of panel conversations on topics relating to Latinx representation in Hollywood and highlighting the work of contemporary Hispanic filmmakers.

Where: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

When: September 23, 2017 to December 11, 2017

3. The U.S. – Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility

Ana Serrano, Cartonlandia, 2008. Cardboard, paper, acrylic paint. 5’ x 4’ x 4.5’.

Photograph by Julie Klima. The AltaMed Art Collection. Courtesy of Cástulo de la Rocha and Zoila D. Escobar.

What: It would be difficult to have a conversation about the Latin American diaspora in Los Angeles without grappling with the question of immigration, and even the border between the U.S. and Mexico itself. For this group show, contemporary artists and designers including Ana Serrano, Adrian Esparza, and Teddy Cruz have created paintings, site installations, architecture and design works, and sculptures, all reflecting the meaning of the border between two countries, as a physical location and as a conceptual subject. A theme highlighted in the exhibit is “design thinking,” connecting social engagement, building, and art together to address the questions at hand.

Where: Craft & Folk Art Museum

When: September 10, 2017 to January 7, 2018

4. CDMX: Music from Mexico City

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Photograph courtesy Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

What: In October, the Disney Concert Hall will host an eclectic festival of music offering tastes of pop, folk, orchestral, and other music out of Mexico City. Among the performances, seven-time Latin Grammy-winning pop star Natalia Lafourcade will take the stage with a full orchestra behind her (something she’s never done before), the all-percussion score of the Oscar-winning film Birdman will be played live by composer-drummer Antonio Sanchez along with a screening  of the movie, and the L.A. Phil’s own New Music Group will perform a night of world premieres of commissioned pieces from contemporary Mexican composers.

Where: Walt Disney Concert Hall

When: October 9, 2017 to October 17, 2017

5. Cuba Is

Michael Christopher Brown, Helen and friends wait for their $1.00 cheese pizzas in Playa neighborhood, Havana. (From the series, Paradiso.), 2015. 37.5 x 25 in.

Photograph © Michael Christopher Brown

What: Fascination with Cuba seems to be at an all-time high, but still only a few Americans have been able to visit the complicated island country, and those who have often see only a tourist’s view of the place. This special show at the Annenberg Space for Photography features archival images alongside the recent work of photographers Elliot Erwitt, Leysis Quesada, Raúl Cañibano, Tria Giovan, and Michael Dweeck, who were able to go deep into the intimate lives of Cubans of all walks of life, from dissidents and underground online activists, to wealthy socialites who maintain glamorous, hard-partying lifestyles on an island where so many suffer. To accompany the photos, the Annenberg Foundation created an original documentary that takes viewers along with the photographers on assignment, and, to get even deeper into the scene, try out a virtual reality experience that focuses on Cuba’s vibrant music culture.

Where: Annenberg Space for Photography

When: September 9, 2017 to March 4, 2018

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