SEE: Alissa Walker's Guide to the Pacific Standard Time Downtown and Exposition Park Focus Weekend

Check Out Alissa Walker’s Guide to Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 Downtown and Exposition Park Weekend

Happy spring, art adventurers! Can you believe we’ve been at this for five whole months? And there’s no end in sight. This weekend’s Pacific Standard Time focus zeroes in on Downtown and Exposition Park. And Alissa Walker will be with you every step of the way as you plan your journeys on March 3 and 4. Go forth!

Ride That Transit:  Yes, WE WISH THE EXPO LINE WAS OPEN, TOO. Until then, you’ll just have to make do with the rest of L.A.’s public transit system. The Chinese American Museum is blocks from the Red and Gold Lines, and The GRAMMY Museum is steps from the Blue Line. Buses can easily ferry you from one downtown location to another, but they’re so close, why not ride a bike? DTLA Bikes is a great place to rent some wheels for the weekend. Plan your trip at

Get Political with Photography: It’s always a treat to wander USC’s campus, which wouldn’t be complete with out a visit to the great Fisher Museum of Art. Up now is the show Sight Specific: LACPS and the Politics of Community, which explores the influence of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, established here in 1974. From 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, the museum will have art-making activities, live entertainment and free food.

See Validating Art: Cross the street from USC to Exposition Park where California African American Museum’s Places of Validation, Art and Progression features the institutions, festivals, and galleries that helped to promote African American art in L.A. from 1940 to 1980. A curator’s tour starts at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 and if you mention PST, you’ll get a free poster celebrating the exhibition.

Taste Abject Expressionism: While it’s not exactly downtown, a Saturday night event at the Pasadena Museum of California Art is too tasty to pass up. The roving event Art as an Appetizer features food truck fare inspired by PST exhibitions. On Saturday night, head to PMCA for their exceptional show L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, and corresponding cuisine by Border Grill, Casablanca Truck, Flat Iron Truck, Gourmet Genie and Go Chew. We can only imagine what kind of dishes that Rico Lebrun and Paul McCarthy’s work could stir up—yikes! Bonus: You can take the Gold Line from downtown.

Thank Vincent Price: Pack up and head east at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 3 for a curator’s tour of the Vincent Price Art Museum in East L.A. As early at 1957,Vincent Price—yes, that Vincent Price—began donating works from his extensive art collection to this gallery at East Los Angeles College, transforming it into a world-class institution. It’s always worth a visit, but especially this weekend when ‘ROUND THE CLOCK: Chinese American Artists Working in Los Angeles features five contemporary Chinese artists working in L.A.

Build Your Dream Home: Continue your journey into Chinese American history at the Chinese American Museum, where the show Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945-1980), celebrates four Chinese American architects working in Los Angeles after World War II. As part of the show, museum goers will have the chance to design their own ideal residences using found materials.  Join the architectural fun from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 3 after you soak up inspiration from the dramatic midcentury residences featured in the exhibition.

Sample Chinese Cuisine: If all that immersion in Chinese American art has you craving dim sum, never fear! The Chinese American Museum is only a few blocks from Chinatown, where tiny savory dumplings seem to spill out of every restaurant. Golden Dragon on Broadway is a tasty option for a ridiculously affordable brunch. Or, if you’re driving out to the Vincent Price Art Museum, make a tiny detour north through San Gabriel to Luscious Dumplings, where they serve exactly that.

Take a Rare Look: The ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives features an in-depth exploration of its holdings with Cruising the Archives: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles, 1945-1980. Currently on view at the West Adams location is Rare Looks. On Thursday, March 1 at 6:o0 p.m., the event Transactivation: Revealing Queer Histories in the Archive will feature live performances and interpretations of pieces found in the archive. And on Sunday, March 4, a curator’s tour will survey the archives at 1:00 p.m.

Listen and Learn: It’s no surprise that music figures prominently into the PST festivities. Over at The GRAMMY Museum, the exhibition Trouble In Paradise: Music and Los Angeles, 1945-1975 surveys the vast trove of art and ephemera produced to promote and celebrate the music industry as it entered a new age fraught with social and political change. At 2:00 p.m. Sunday, March 4 join the curator for a tour through this visual history of rock’n’roll.

by Alissa Walker

Alissa Walker is a writer, a gelato-eater, and a walker in L.A. You can read more at her blog, Gelatobaby, and follow her every step at @gelatobaby


1. Sister Mary Corita Kent, E eye love, 1968, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives Courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles
2. DTLA Bikes
3. John Divola, Zuma #16, 1977, Courtesy of the artist
4. Suzanne Fitzallen Jackson, Animal, 1974, Gift of Joan D. Payne to the collection of the California African American Museum Original gift of Joan D. Payne. © Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum
5. Betye Saar, Nubian Shadows, 1977, Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York
6. Tyrus Wong, Reclining Nude, ca. 1940s, Collection of Leslee See Leong © Tyrus Wong
7. Eugene Choy, Choy Residencek, 1951, Photo by Julius Shulman
8. Dumplings
9. Mundo Meza, Frozen Art, 1982, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives Courtesy of Patricia Meza and Elizabeth Signorelli
10. Cliff Wesselman, Search for Weapons, Watts Riots, 1966, Herald Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library