Wide-Ranging Retrospective on L.A.'s Modern Architecture Misses the Mark

A new series of exhibitions being organized by the Getty Trust around the subject of LA's modern architectural history includes a significant blind spot, says Christopher Hawthorne. He outlines the prequel necessary to understand the whole story.

Billed as a continuation of the Getty's seminal "Pacific Standard Time" series of exhibits staged two years ago, "Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A." (PSTP) covers roughly the same postwar period in seeking to document the evolution of modern architecture in Los Angeles. This time constraint, explains Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, is the source of both "the blind spots and the major potential of the series."

"Modern architecture in L.A., after all, got started well before 1940. And it exhausted itself — or was upended by impatient revolutionaries of various kinds — long before 1990," he says. "What that means is that the Getty-sponsored shows will be looking at modernism in Los Angeles from its middle age through its dotage."

While the 1970s and 80s present fertile ground for new scholarship, much is missed by starting the clock in 1940. Hawthorne presents a short, but necessary, prequel to the show by explaining the contributions of Henry and Charles Greene, Irving Gill, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, and others.

Full Story: Southern California architecture: the missing early years from PSTP

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