Foundation research

Local arts institutions receive research grants from the Getty Foundation

When it comes to science exhibits, institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) and the Mingei International Museum aren’t often the first places that come to mind.

But in 2024, MCASD and Mingei, along with the La Jolla Historical Society, San Diego Museum of Art, and UC San Diego Institute of Arts and Humanities, will all unveil multi-faceted, multi-level programming as part of the Getty Foundation “Pacific Standard Time” program. : Art x Science x LA” Pacific Standard Time is a series of concurrent exhibitions held throughout Southern California. On January 27, it was announced that over $5 million in exhibition research grants had been awarded to 45 organizations across the region.

“The resources available via Pacific Standard Time almost have an increased importance at this time,” says Anthony Graham, associate curator at MCASD. “At a time when our galleries are currently closed, this allows us to really develop projects on the scale that we usually can.”

Held every six years, Pacific Standard Time (PST) began in 2011 and includes dozens of museums, galleries and organizations featuring themed exhibits and programming. The 2024 iteration of PST will attempt to explore the interconnectedness of art and science, a theme Barbara Forsyth, senior curator at Mingei, finds particularly suited to the San Diego area.

“I know I grew up thinking there was art and then there was science and you go one way or the other. You don’t see them as symbiotic or as interconnected as they really are,” says Forsyth, who will draw from the Mingei’s vast collection of tapestries for “Blue Gold: The Art and Science of Indigo,” an exhibition that “highlights the roles of botany, chemistry, medicine, ecology and economics in indigo cultivation.

The Getty Foundation also takes a very scientific approach to grants.

“The wonderful thing is that the Getty encourages us at this point to explore all options. Not to be grounded and let research take us where it wants to go,” Forsyth says. net in terms of research It’s how you connect all those dots and how they are connected that will make for an interesting story.

And while LA appears in the theme title, San Diego’s five institutions all tap into topics of regional interest. MCASD, for example, will present “Medical Condition: Art, Illness, and the Body,” an exhibit exploring, according to Graham, the “relationship between the changing ideas of our bodies and how this has been understood scientifically and how it has been Analyzed and Performed by Artists Curators plan to tap into San Diego’s vast biomedical and biotechnology industries and feature artists whose work addresses issues related to a variety of diseases and afflictions.

The UCSD Institute of Arts and Humanities takes the spirit of collaboration a step further with two organizations on campus – the Geisel Library and the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography – working together to present a series of events during of the next few years. The series, titled “Oceanic Art and Science: Navigating the Pacific,” will focus on “visual and sensory techniques, past and present, used to see, measure, and imagine the oceans.”

“Of course, understanding our planet really depends on how we observe the planet,” says Dr. Nan Renner, Senior Director of Learning Design and Innovation at Birch Aquarium. “Scientists and artists both engage with how we represent and make sense of these observations. When science and art work together, as we have seen time and time again, they mutually expand their powers of perception and their power of imagination.

The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) and the La Jolla Historical Society have also received PST Exhibit Research Grants, ranging from $100,000 to $120,000.

SDMA will use its grant to develop “Wonders of Creation: Art, Science and Innovation in the Islamic World”, which is inspired by the 13th century text “The Book of the Wonders of Creation and the Oddities of Existence” by Zakariya al-Qazwini, Persian astronomer and physician. The interconnectedness of art and science will be highlighted in the tiered exhibition with a mix of classic and modern art that explores Islamic cultural contributions across the centuries.

The Jolla Historical Society will focus solely on the modern era with “Helen and Newton Harrison: California Work,” an exhibit that will focus on the unique brand of ecological and environmental art of former UCSD faculty. Covering the late 1960s through the 2000s, the exhibition will include drawings, paintings, collages, staged performances and more. Heath Fox, executive director of the La Jolla Historical Society, considers the Harrisons’ work particularly suited to the theme of the PST.

“At a time in history when climate change poses an existential threat to the planet,” Fox says, “our aspiration is that ‘California Work’ will renew interest in the Harrisons’ important and groundbreaking work and stimulate public discourse. on environmental issues.