Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Is the East Coast Toast?

The big art news today of course is that the Australian-born former Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Michael Brand, has been named the new director of the trouble-plauged Getty. Needless to say, your first source for the story behind the story here should be Tyler Green's Modern Art Notes, and The New York Times has two (count them, one... two) articles on the selection, but it was something in their first article that caught my eye, because I've been reading similar statements in lots of places recently:

"Because of his own background," [Barry Munitz, the president of the Getty Trust] said of Mr. Brand, "I think you'll see a more aggressive reaching out to the south and the west - to Asia and Latin America. Rather than our peers and our measure being the East Coast and Europe, we have turned the compass needle a little bit."
You'll perhaps recall my earlier post about how hot the LA gallery scene has become recently. And even in other spheres, the sentiment is similar:

As the Democratic Party struggles to find its way nationally, [New Mexico Governor Bill] Richardson said the answer lies out West and with the nation's governors, who "see the daily challenges that people confront in their families, in their business and their communities," as he told newspaper publishers in the spring in San Francisco. "I come face to face with these people that I serve, and they're not worried about reforming the tax code or Social Security or some nebulous issue like judicial appointments."
There seems to be a growing sense that the East Coast is old news, that the real action's out West. Of course, a bit of flash is what the West Coast has always been good at, but this feels different. Perhaps it's as simple as the East Coast, with New York and DC being targets of terrorism, not to mention the collective roots of all evil to many people, represents the things Americans are anxious to not have to think about any more. Or to dumb it down even further, the East Coast is gloomy; the West Coast is sunny. Of course, that is all predicated on the San Andreas fault behaving itself, but...what if the power is truly shifting? What if Culver City really is the new Gold Coast of the art world? The industry is becoming increasingly bicoastal. What if the Getty, with its new whiz kid, succeeds in turning the compass needle?

Nah, fuggedaboudit! My malaise here is most likely nothing more than the mid-August itch. I've had enough down time, I miss my far-wandering friends, and I am now looking forward to the art season kicking up again. By mid September, I'll be so busy you'll have to point LA out on a map to me again. No?


Blogger bill said...

A post on NY v. LA gallery, museum scene been in the hopper since I returned from LA--lo, about two months ago, I'm very behind--but LA is not even kinda there yet (and I'm a booster of the West).

8/16/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous barry said...

The West and South can only exist in therir current forms as long as gas doesn't go up too much more, and as long as their infrastructure (and water for the West) are subsidized by the rest of us.

They claim can-do resilience, but southern California and the southwest would be a low population desert without federal help, and will become one again if the US doesn't get its fiscal affairs in order and has trouble paying for such things.

8/16/2005 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Seismic, gas and water problems, plus absolutely out-of-control illegal immigration and regional explosions in violent drug-related crime. My money's on the gloomy East Coast for the forseeable.

8/16/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

I was surprised the West overcame that whole Donner Party fiasco.

8/16/2005 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I was surprised the West overcame that whole Donner Party fiasco.

Do I need glasses or what? First time I read that as "Dinner Party" and thought "there's bad blood between L.A. and Judy Chicago"?

8/16/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

Do I need glasses or what? First time I read that as "Dinner Party" and thought "there's bad blood between L.A. and Judy Chicago"?

Haha, me too! But then let's see, from NY we got a garish steakhouse chain and from us (at least us Norcalians) you got Per Se. You owe us! ;)

8/18/2005 08:56:00 PM  

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