Since its founding in 2002, the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time (PST) initiative has created a new funding landscape in Southern California. Organized in five-year cycles, each with a particular theme, this periodic structure contributes to institutional scholarship in the region, while manifesting as a massive, decentered program of research, exhibitions, and performances at scores of institutions across an expansive geography.
This thesis investigates the development of the 2017 edition of PST, subtitled LA/LA, which was devoted to research and exhibition around Chicanx, Latin American, and Latinx artists. Funding more than seventy exhibitions at a wide range of Californian cultural institutions, including many that would not otherwise have been able to support exhibitions of this scale and ambition, PST: LA/LA therefore presented a significant opportunity to correct historical exclusions, and to reshape the cultural field for decades to come.
While PST contributes substantially to scholarship in the region, the very ambiguity of its form makes it hard to criticize—even as its public profile and social project heighten the stakes of critical engagement. Drawing upon interviews with key figures at the Getty (Andrew Perchuk and Selene Preciado) as well as curators working at grantee institutions (including Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, Bill Kelley, Jr., Daniela Lieja Quintanar and Joanna Szupinska-Myers), this thesis confirms the enabling effect of PST’s support, while arguing that the initiative’s episodic nature limits its ability to create lasting change.