PST Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.

Press and members of the worlds of Art and Architecture met this morning at the legendary Capitol Records Building, on Vine Street in Hollywood, to learn about an exciting new series of exhibitions that will examine L.A.’s rich and varied Modern Architectural heritage.

Gathering in Studio A of one of L.A.’s most iconic and internationally recognized buildings, we heard how the Capitol Records Building was designed (by guitarist and sound expert Les Paul) to ensure an efficient use of space and energy and how it remains a state-of-the-art recording facility. Performers such as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys all recorded there. In fact, the ‘stack-of-records’ shaped building was nicknamed “The House That Nat Built” to recognize the enormous financial contributions of Capitol star Nat “King” Cole.


The Capitol Records Tower is one of the most distinctive landmarks in Hollywood. The 13-story earthquake-resistant tower, designed by Welton Becket, was the world’s first circular office building.

The blinking light atop the tower spells out the phrase ‘Hollywood’ in Morse code, and has done so since the building’s opening in 1956.

During the presentation, The Getty announced Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., a collaborative celebration of one of Southern California’s most lasting contributions to post-World War II cultural life: modern architecture.

Designed to continue the momentum of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980, last year’s sweeping initiative that included exhibitions and programs at 60 arts institutions across Southern California, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., will be smaller in scope, comprising eleven exhibitions and accompanying programs and events in and around Los Angeles slated for April through July 2013.


“We wanted to continue our exploration of the region’s postwar visual arts and culture, but obviously we can’t do an initiative on the scale of Pacific Standard Time every year,” said Jim Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “Pacific Standard Time Presents will be smaller in size and geographic reach, but will again spur original scholarship and maintain the collaborative spirit of Pacific Standard Time.”


Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. will provide a wide-ranging look at the region’s modern architectural heritage, as well as the significant contributions of L.A. architects to national and global developments in architecture.  It will examine a broad array of practitioners, from pioneering modernists like Richard Neutra and Pritzker Prize winners such as Frank Gehry and Thom Mayne, to other visionary architects who have been critical to shaping the region’s distinctive profile, including A. Quincy Jones, Whitney Rowland Smith and Eric Owen Moss. Exhibitions and related programming will explore a range of building types, from iconic modernist homes and civic landmarks such as Disney Hall, to the whimsical coffee shops and vast freeway networks that made Los Angeles the unique megalopolis it is today.

Exhibition partners include Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA); Hammer Museum; the Getty; A+D Architecture and Design Museum; Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara; W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona; MAK Center for Art and Architecture; and Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Additional programming partners include the Center for Land Use Interpretation; Community Art Resources, Inc.; The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; the Los Angeles Conservancy; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Machine Project; Pasadena Heritage; and UCLA Architecture and Urban Design.


“Los Angeles is primarily known for its experimental residential architecture, but Modern Architecture in L.A. will show that the region’s design innovations extended to its infrastructure, civic and commercial buildings, and much more,” said Deborah Marrow, Director of the Getty Foundation, which has made $3.6 million in grants to 16 organizations for exhibitions, publications and programming. “We are very pleased with the caliber of exhibitions, publications and related programming that will make up Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. this spring.  This initiative promises to reveal the city’s architectural legacy and ongoing impact in new ways.”


Among the exhibitions will be Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990, co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute, which will be the first major museum exhibition to survey Los Angeles’s built environment and rapid postwar evolution into one of the most populous and influential industrial, economic and creative capitals in the world.  The J. Paul Getty Museum will also present In Focus: Ed Ruscha, offering a concentrated look at Ruscha’s engagement with Los Angeles’ vernacular architecture, urban landscape, and car culture.

Exhibitions will run from April through July 2013, with much of the related programming including lectures, films, tours and panel discussions taking place during L.A. Architecture Month, mid-May to mid-June 2013.


Exhibitions receiving Getty Foundation grants include:

§ A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California (MOCA)


§ Quincy Jones: Building For Better Living (Hammer)


§ The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA (LACMA)


§ Stephen Prina: As He Remembered It (LACMA)


§ Technology and Environment: The Postwar House in Southern California (W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery, Cal Poly Pomona)


§ Everything Loose Will Land (MAK Center for Art and Architecture)


§ Windshield Perspective (A+D Architecture and Design Museum)


§ A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979 (SCI-Arc)

$260,000 (and $200,000 for the SCI-Arc Media Archive)

§ Outside In: The Architecture of Smith and Williams (Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara)  $265,000

Support for related public programs has also been provided to:

§ Center for Land Use Interpretation for On-Site Office Trailers: Invisible Architecture of the Urban Environment, an exhibition of original photography and related construction site tours.


§ Community Art Resources, Inc. for CicLAvia: Modern Architecture on Wilshire Blvd, an architectural guide and special programming as part of their June 2013 car-free/open streets event.


§ The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens for the online exhibition, Form and Landscape: Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin, and public programming.


§ Los Angeles Conservancy for Curating the City: Modern Architecture in L.A., an interactive online resource as well as tours, public programs and print material.


§ Los Angeles Philharmonic for The Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogy Conversation, a discussion with Pritzker Prize-winning architects who are designing sets for this unique interdisciplinary series.


§ Machine Project for The Machine Project Field Guide to L.A. Architecture, a performance series at architectural sites across the city.


§ Pasadena Heritage for Pasadena 1940 Forward: Residential Architecture of the Recent Past, a tour of modernist homes in the Pasadena area along with a related lecture and oral history project.


§ UCLA Architecture and Urban Design for Extreme IDEAS: Architecture at the Intersection, a series of discussions about the dynamic and interdisciplinary future of architecture.



About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. celebrates the city’s modern architectural heritage through exhibitions and programs at cultural institutions in and around L.A. starting in April 2013. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Modern Architecture in L.A. is a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous residential architecture to its vast freeway network, revealing the city’s development and ongoing impact in new ways.

Additional information is available here.


Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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