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Stuffing art back into salons


So Ocean Park, so 1980.


Opinion: A coming SoCal-wide Getty-produced art binge, while certain to be fun for poseur-voyeurs, is mere response to street art's recent media-nabbling ascendancy, and a step in wrong direction: the past. Celebrating end-of-lifecyle legacies up to 1980 rather than our contemporary artists (and contemporary media!) won't help.

The coming art blitzing of SoCal in October must be an attempt to wrestle away local notoriety from street art, which has been ascendant for four years here, starting with the Banksy show in 2006, the Mr. Brainwash show of 2008, the stagey release of Exit through the Gift Shop in 2009, the arrival of Jeffery Deitch at MoCA in 2010, and this year's Art in the Streets exhibition there. Unfortunately, Pacific Daylight Time, though immense, is a retrospective, and that's where it stumbles: out of the gate.

Cultural relevancy exists in the present, not the past. By now LA/SoCal does not need to overdose on re-establishing its cultural relevancy and legacy. In fact, it needs to let go of its legacy. It needs Eli Broad off the scene, clearer thinking at the Getty ("
Print ads and a new phone app will augment 900 street-pole banners" both are not going to do much except buy the wrong people), and most of all, new patrons to take away the reins from all these end-of-lifecycle institutions.

Trite Times coverage and a local critical establishment that is failing doesn't help, nor handing over such stories to news scribes ("
It seems worthy of an old-fashioned Hollywood epic..." &c.). Bestowing money on media rather than artists--that formula doesn't inspire art production and lasting legacy, it inspires the kind of emperor's new clothing treatments we saw around the time of the Disney Hall gala: something we patted ourselves on the back for, while the rest of the planet wondered what the fuss was all about.