In a keynote address at the University of Southern California in 1940, Frank Lloyd Wright dismissed the built environment of Los Angeles as amounting to little more than a “dish of tripe.” But even without the notable houses he'd built there himself, the city's unfolding architectural saga was already more complex and, in some respects, more appealing than a dollop of offal. And over the next half-century, L.A.'s rapid evolution would produce enough fare–both loathsome and savory–to merit Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., a Getty-sponsored collaboration with exhibitions and events at 17 venues across the region this spring and summer.
In 2011 and 2012, Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 engaged 60 cultural institutions to explore the emergence of the city's art scene in the decades after World War II (record, November 2011, page 36). Naturally, design played a role. But in the second act, architecture is now the focus. With it comes the perpetual conundrum of how to create vital and meaningful exhibitions about buildings, urban conditions, and works far too large or impractical to display in galleries. The responses to this familiar dilemma are as varied as the shows, their subject matter, and their venues.