January 14, 2013

The Getty Presents First Major Museum Exhibition to Survey the Innovation and Influence of Los Angeles' Architectural History

Explores Los Angeles' Diverse Built Environment and Dispels Myths about the City's Growth in the 20th Century

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center
April 9–July 21, 2013



MEDIA CONTACT:                 
Amy Hood
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6427

LAX, Theme Building; perspective view, 1961. Architects: William Pereira and Charles Luckman.
© The Luckman Partnership, Inc.|a Salas O’Brien Company.

LOS ANGELES—During the second half of the 20th century, Los Angeles rapidly evolved into one of the most populous and influential industrial, economic, and creative capitals in the world. Architectural innovations of this era transformed the city’s complex landscape into a vibrant laboratory for cutting-edge design. On view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from April 9 to July 21, 2013, Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990 will be the first major museum exhibition to survey Los Angeles’ distinct built environment.

Organized by the
Getty Research Institute and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 19401990 is part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., an initiative of the Getty that comprises eleven exhibitions and accompanying programs and events in and around Los Angeles from April through July 2013.

In much the same way as Pacific Standard Time confirmed Los Angeles as a major center of artistic accomplishment in post-World War II America, the exhibitions of Pacific Standard Time Presents will highlight Los Angeles’ important role in the development of modern architecture. Our Overdrive exhibition lays the groundwork for what visitors will see in the other ten exhibitions around Southern California,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It is particularly fitting to have this landmark exhibition presented in an architectural setting that is itself a Los Angeles landmark.”

Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990 will feature photographs, architectural drawings, models, films, digital displays, and contemporary art that reveal the complex and often underappreciated facets of this unique metropolis.

“The title
Overdrive refers to the extraordinary pace, global impact and periodic setbacks resulting from L.A.’s impressive growth. It is a city that continues to grow and foster architectural exploration,” states Wim de Wit, head of the Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art at the Getty Research Institute and one of the curators of the exhibition. He adds: “The exhibition will demonstrate that despite its infamous reputation as a chaotic, unplanned accident Los Angeles has long been a laboratory for cutting-edge innovation and planning in architecture and design.”

major loan exhibition will address five themes: car culture; urban networks, including the freeways and utility systems; engines of innovation, including structures for the oil, aviation and aerospace, higher education, international commerce and media and entertainment industries; community magnets, including projects for culture, sports, shopping and faith; and Southern California’s famous residential architecture. Throughout, the exhibition will incorporate art works that relate to the city’s landscape and buildings. While aesthetically diverse, all of the structures represented in the exhibition—houses, corporate office towers, movie theaters, places of worship, shopping malls, and theme parks, among others—will reveal insights into local architects’ pioneering incorporation of bold forms, advanced materials, and new technologies.

The exhibition is curated by Wim de Wit, Christopher James Alexander, and Rani Singh of the Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art at the Getty Research Institute.

The design of the exhibition is a collaborative project between the Getty Museum’s Design department and students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990 will be supported by a wide range of public programs, including lectures, curator talks, and tours. A fully illustrated compendium is being published by Getty Publications and provides an overview of architecture in postwar Los Angeles up to 1990. Organized by the Getty Research Institute, the book includes prominent architectural historians and writers.

Sponsors for the exhibition include Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company which, during its fifty-year partnership first with J. Paul Getty and subsequently the J. Paul Getty Trust, built two of Los Angeles’ most iconic public arts institutions: the Getty Villa in Malibu and the Getty Center in Brentwood, and Bank of America, which was the lead sponsor of the 2011 initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980.

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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Visiting the Getty Center

The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 5 p.m. on Saturdays and for evening events throughout the week. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.
celebrates the city’s modern architectural heritage through exhibitions and programs at cultural institutions in and around L.A. starting in April 2013. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Modern Architecture in L.A. is a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous residential architecture to its vast freeway network, revealing the city’s development and ongoing impact in new ways.

Additional information is available at


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