Pacific Standard Time will be swinging a spotlight over one corner of the Southern California art universe, one weekend at a time. On October 22 and 23 the focus will be on the Westside of Los Angeles, including lots of events happening throughout Santa Monica. So grab your sketchbook (or maybe just your iPhone) and head west, art lovers!
The clock is ticking! How many gallery shows have you seen? How many museums have you conquered? Never fear, your Pacific Standard Time tour guide Alissa Walker has tackled all the press events (and drank all the complimentary wine) to help you zero in on the best ways to fill your art-viewing schedule.
The Free Shuttles Are Back!: Working in partnership with Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, PST will offer free bus transportation between the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Getty and Otis on October 22 and 23. The buses will run from 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and schedules and timetables will be posted at participating museums, or you can download the PDF. Want a challenge? Try making it a car-free day by planning to take transportation to your first and last stop using the trip planners at Metro or the Big Blue Bus.
Take the Two-Wheeled Tour: For those who prefer to see their art with a side of cycling, the PST Santa Monica Bike Tour will cruise the city on Saturday, October 22 with stops at SMMoA, Sam Francis Gallery, the Eames Office and 18th Street Art Center. At each location, attendees will be treated to a private walkthrough of the shows. The free tour kicks off at 1:00 p.m at SMMoA, lasts 3 1/2 hours, and is hosted with the help of Santa Monica Spoke. Space is limited so register now to reserve your spot.
Take a Good Look at Beatrice Wood: One of the stops on both the free Westside shuttles and the Santa Monica bike tour is not to be missed (and with that kind of convenience you really have no excuse). Beatrice Wood: Career Woman at the Santa Monica Museum of Art showcases over 100 pieces by the California painter and sculptor that connect the worlds of Dadaism and California pottery. Of note are Wood’s exceptional ceramics and decorative objects, which she became renowned for even though she did not take up the medium until she was 40.
See a Young Larry Bell: While you’re at Bergamot Station, walk across the parking lot to the Frank Lloyd Gallery for an incredible peek at the early work of Venice-based artist Larry Bell. These abstract paintings created between 1959 to 1963 feature geometric forms and spatial explorations that draw a direct line to the smoky cubes and translucent environments he would become known for later in the 1960s. If you’ve just got to get more Bell, Lloyd takes private appointments to see additional work in a project space in Venice.
Have Dinner at Larry’s: After you’ve soaked up Larry Bell’s legacy, head to the only restaurant in town named for the legendary artist. The laid-back Larry’s, located in Venice Beach just a few blocks from his studio, serves up 26 craft beers and charcuterie-focused pub food. The bar inside is an homage to the plexiglas work that made Bell famous, and is topped with a collection of his signature hats. Who knows, you may even see the man himself under one of them in the corner, smoking his ever-present cigar.
Dig L.A.’s Black Culture: Make a stop in Westwood for the Hammer Museum’s definitive survey of Los Angeles’ African American artists. Now Dig This! starts with the political unrest of the 1960s and traces the local influence of black artists through the tumultuous times of the civil rights and Black Power movements. 140 local artists like John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, David Hammons and Betye Saar are featured alongside the gallerists, curators and scholars who helped them make L.A. a center for black culture.
Get In With John Outterbridge: As one of the most influential African American artists in Los Angeles, John Outterbridge is widely regarded to be one of the leaders of the California Assemblage movement. After seeing Outterbridge’s early work at the Hammer, check out his newest site-specific show at the art nonprofit LAX ART called The Rag Factory, which uses found rags collected from factories downtown to make a statement on labor. LAX ART is closed Sunday, so be sure to come by on Saturday, but a billboard designed by Outterbridge can be seen at any time above the gallery.
Drink With the Artists: Just down the block from LAXART is the one place you’re most likely to encounter today’s art stars: Mandrake, which serves as a kind of alcoholic commissary for a dozen galleries on La Cienega. After weaving through Culver City’s art scene, take a seat at the bar for a killer happy hour special (PBR and a shot of whiskey for $5) or more sophisticated cocktails like a tomato water martini. As the galleries start to close, local curators, gallery owners, and artists will claim the stools nearby.
See How Women Were Doin’ It: Head to Otis College of Art and Design for the do-not-miss show Doin’ It in Public that details the rise of the Feminist art movement. Of note is the first comprehensive timeline and history of the Woman’s Building, a groundbreaking exhibition and studio space for feminist artists in the 1970s. A wide range of notable female artists are featured in the show and two publications, including the contributions of Women’s Building founders Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Arlene Raven.
1. A young Larry Bell in his studio. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Beatrice Wood, Gold Luster Teaset, c. 1990. Courtesy of Frank Lloyd Gallery
3. David Hammons, America the Beautiful, 1968. In the Hammer Museum’s Now Dig This.
4. Mandrake Bar, from The New York Times, photographer J. Emilio Flores.
5. Installation shot from Doin’ It in Public at Otis College of Art and Design