Three Orange County visual arts organizations will receive a total of $300,000 in grants from the L.A.-based Getty Foundation, which recently announced that 45 Southern California cultural, educational and scientific institutions will receive funds as part of the Getty’s newest Pacific Standard Time (PST) initiative.

The Orange County Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum, and Beall Center for Art + Technology at UC Irvine will receive $100,000 each for the next edition of PST, which is scheduled to open in 2024 and will explore connections between art and science.

In total, the Getty Foundation, which fulfills the philanthropic mission of the massively loaded Getty Trust, is providing $5.38 million in exhibition research grants. A second round of grants to support the implementation of the exhibitions will be announced at a later date.

“We are thrilled to be able to participate in the next Pacific Standard Time and to bring together groundbreaking international artists, scientists and activists for a project in Orange County, a community that cares deeply about the Pacific Ocean,” said Cassandra Coblentz, senior curator and director of public engagement at OCMA, in a statement.

The PST exhibition at OCMA is tentatively titled “Sea Change: Toward New Environmentalisms in the Pacific Ocean.” It will focus on existing artworks that depict environmental issues occurring at critical locations across the Pacific, and on identifying art that creates solutions. The project will consider diverse viewpoints, including indigenous perspectives, in the process of uncovering the scientific, economic and cultural influences that contributed to these crises, according to a news release.

Additionally, OCMA is planning to launch international collaborations with scientists, oceanic institutions and artists in various locations around the Pacific to create new artworks and off-site projects.

So far, Paul Rosero Contreras of Ecuador and Reef Design Lab of Australia have been identified as participating artists and organizations.

“Dark Paradise, Purple Haze, Underwater Volcanic Seeps,” a 2018 video still by Paul Rosero Contreras. This is one example of the artist’s work engaging with the effects of ocean acidification in the Pacific Ocean. His work is being researched for OCMA’s PST project.

OCMA says its research phase will culminate in an international symposium to be held at OCMA in 2022 that will produce new scholarship on the topic. OCMA plans to open its new, $75 million, Thom Mayne-designed building at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa in 2022.

‘Particles and Waves’ at LAM

Laguna Art Museum’s PST exhibit will be called “Particles and Waves: Southern California Abstraction and Modern Physics, 1945 to 1980.” It will examine how concepts and technologies from subfields of modern physics impacted the development of abstract or non-figurative styles of artwork in postwar Southern California.

“Abstract,” a 1945-46 oil on canvas by Claire Falkenstein.

“Particles and Waves” will unite several generations of artists working in diverse materials and styles to examine how scientific advances in modern physics inspired a range of non-figurative artworks by practitioners concerned with light, energy, motion and time, according to a news release. It seems that the key Light and Space artists from Southern California — including Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, John McCracken, Craig Kauffman, Helen Pashigan and James Turrell — would fit neatly into this effort.

“This exhibition offers an exciting opportunity to explore the interrelated histories of scientific research and artistic experimentation in Southern California,” said Sharrissa Iqbal, lead curator of the exhibit, in a statement. Iqbal would be a guest curator for the show, as Laguna Art Museum currently does not employ a curator of modern or contemporary art on its staff.

‘Future Tense’ at UCI

The Beall Center for Art + Technology is planning to present “Future Tense: Art, Complexity, and Predictability,” a thematic show and artist residency program. David Familian, artistic director and curator for the Beall Center, will lead the research and planning. He will be joined by Jeffrey Barrett, a professor of logic and philosophy of science at UCI, who will advise on matters related to history and the philosophy of science.

“Future Tense” will feature about a dozen artists whose interdisciplinary practices examine complex systems such as evolutionary biology, meteorology, machine learning and social networks to engage and critique different ways of predicting the future, according to a news release. A select number of collaborators will also participate in the Beall Center’s Black Box projects residency program, which invites artists to collaborate on new work and research with UCI faculty and Ph.D. students.

An exterior shot of the Beall Center for Art + Technology at UC Irvine, which will participate in the next iteration of Pacific Standard Time.

“In the ‘Future Tense’ exhibition, artists will respond to our exceedingly unpredictable 21st century as they explore indeterminate and complex systems such as global warming, pandemics and social relations,” Familian said in a statement. “Their interdisciplinary works across media will reveal how complex systems profoundly dislocate, disrupt and impact our lives.”

As in years and iterations past, Pacific Standard Time will feature dozens of simultaneous exhibitions and programs, this time focusing on the connections between and intertwined histories of art and science. Issues that are expected to be explored in “PST: Art x Science x LA” include climate change, environmental racism, the current pandemic and artificial intelligence.

“We applaud our partners for embracing remarkably diverse and imaginative approaches to this PST’s theme of art and science,” said Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation, in a statement. “Beyond the inventiveness they are bringing to their individual research topics, they will build new community partnerships and engage the public in civic dialogues around pressing issues of our time. This will be a PST defined by creativity, curiosity and community.”

Previous PST themes were “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” from September 2017 through January 2018, exploring the connections between Latin America and Los Angeles; and “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” presented between October 2011 and March 2012. More than 70 institutions collaborated in “LA/LA,” and more than 60 cultural institutions participated in the first PST.

During “PST: LA/LA,” the Getty Foundation and Trust provided more than $16 million in total funding. For many Southern California art institutions, these latest Getty-funded grants couldn’t come soon enough.

“PST comes at a moment when so many museums and visual arts organizations are struggling to stay afloat after being closed for nearly a year,” said César García-Alvarez, director and chief curator at The Mistake Room (an alternative art space in downtown L.A.), in a statement.

“Getty’s research support allows institutions like ours to take on major projects that not only encourage us to think big but also gift us opportunities to build meaningful community partnerships for the future,” he said.

Richard Chang is senior editor for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. He can be reached at rchang@voiceofoc.org.

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