LOS ANGELES — Almost two decades ago, the artist Beatriz da Costa designed tiny backpacks for homing pigeons, equipped with sensors to track air pollution in California. Next year, her birds will fly again thanks to a survey of the artist’s work at LACE — one of about 60 museum shows in “PST Art: Art & Science Collide,” the 2024 edition of the Getty-organized, regionwide cultural collaboration known as Pacific Standard Time.
On Tuesday, the Getty will announce the participating exhibitions — along with $17 million in grants to support them. PST, as it is known, began in 2011 with the theme of Southern California art history and was reprised in 2017 to focus on Latino and Latin American art. The events will now take place every five years under a new rubric: “PST Art.”
“I was struck traveling to Europe in November by the number of people who heard of PST and thought of it as one of the things that fixed Southern California in their minds as a major art and cultural destination, and I’d really like to build on that,” the Getty’s president, Katherine E. Fleming, said in an interview Monday. “It felt important to me to say: We’ll make this commitment to the L.A. arts scene.”
While the Getty provides funding, museums propose their own exhibitions that fit the overarching theme. Next year, several museums will offer ambitious shows on the climate crisis, including one at the Hammer Museum on “climate and social justice” and at LAXArt on “ecofeminism,” the movement that emerged in the 1970s to counter the exploitation of nature and women. The La Jolla Historical Society will showcase California work by Newton and Helen Harrison, including the couple’s 360-foot-long, multi-part, photo-text mural “Lagoon Cycle,” which begins with the crab-filled lagoons of Sri Lanka and ends with images of global warming in the Pacific.
The power of science fiction and alternative world-building also runs through multiple shows. The Autry Museum of the American West is presenting “Indigenous Futures, or How to Survive and Thrive after the Apocalypse,” featuring work by contemporary Native American artists including Cara Romero and Cannupa Hanska Luger. The ONE Archives exhibition celebrates “science-fiction fandom” in L.G.T.B.Q. history, while the University of California Los Angeles has a 12-week film program of independent sci-fi films that dethrone conventional representations of gender, race and ethnicity.
The classic example of art-meeting-science in Southern California, the Light and Space movement of the 1960s and 70s, will be represented by a survey of work by Fred Eversley at Pomona College that explores his history as an aerospace engineer. In Los Angeles the Museum of Contemporary Art will have a solo show of Olafur Eliasson, who is arguably the most popular heir to the Light and Space tradition.
Most shows will open around the same time, in September 2024. After this edition, Fleming said she would consider partnering with museums abroad to tour the exhibitions.