Robert Heinecken's Recto-Verso No. 12. (photo by Image Courtesy Robert Berman Gallery)

BERGAMOT STATION — Pacific Standard Time has arrived.

This unprecedented collaboration, initiated by the Getty Foundation, brings together more than 60 cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months beginning in October to tell the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.

“Never before have so many arts institutions worked in concert to present such a large and varied body of work to the public,” said James Cuno, president & CEO of The J. Paul Getty Trust. “The sheer scale of this undertaking is exhilarating.”

Local galleries and the Santa Monica Museum of Art will host several exhibits over the course of the collaboration.

This Saturday, Oct. 15, the Robert Berman Gallery (www.robertbermangallery.com/) at Bergamot Station Arts Center presents Transformation, which features conceptual photography from the late Robert Heinecken and Victor Landweber. The opening reception runs from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Transformation focuses on art that was created from untraditional sources. Once commercial art, it is now transformed into thought-provoking visuals.

Heinecken was one of the few early photographers to practice postmodernism: appropriation (think Marcel Duchamp’s mustache on da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” or Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Can” series), a commonly used art technique in today’s art scene. This provocative photographer was ahead of his time. Heinecken revolutionized the art world, creating unusual techniques that were once scoffed at, but are now acknowledged and widely used as a proven art practice.

Landweber has also been an influential figure in the art world. Landweber is known for taking the ordinary and placing it in the context of an unusual realm. He plays with a subtle touch of sexuality that is masked behind a blatant ambiguity. Landweber’s photographs capture what the viewer cannot see, forcing them to question what they are looking at and why.

Both of these men have used unconventional methods and transformed commercialism into art. They combined imagery and photography in a way that transformed and greatly impacted the world of art.

Paid to Play — Illustrating Los Angeles: 1945 – 1985 is also on view at The Robert Berman Gallery (C-2) and will be open until December. Paid to Play is an exhibition that celebrates iconic imagery of the past. This exhibition features artists who earned their living as illustrators. This was a genre looked down upon by many in the art field. Artists who were involved in such commercialism were considered to be “selling out” by many in the fine art world.

However, these artists created memorable works that have stood the test of time. Iconic images such as Playboy, Levi’s, the Rolling Stones, along with major studio films such as “American Graffiti” and “Tron” make for a nostalgic exhibition. The artists who created these images dealt with fierce competition as well as intense deadlines. Remarkable images were created, and will forever be associated with this generation.

Paid to Play was the first of several exhibitions to appear at The Robert Berman Gallery which falls under the umbrella of Pacific Standard Time.

More to see

The Santa Monica Museum of Art will also be getting into the act, hosting the first “regional weekend” of Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The day includes a variety of activities at the museum: Free shuttles supported by L.A. County Proposition A Local Return Funds, Santa Monica Cultural Affairs and Big Blue Bus to five participating Westside institutions; free curator and docent led tours; and a cultural bicycle tour of Santa Monica.

Visitors are invited to board and exit the complimentary transportation with routes and destinations across the region, including Santa Monica Museum of Art and galleries in Bergamot Station Arts Center, the Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School, the 18th Street Arts Center, Ben Maltz Gallery at OTIS College of Art and Design, and the Getty Center, which will host the Pacific Standard Time Family Festival (free from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

“One of the great aspects of Pacific Standard Time is that it has inspired cultural institutions to join together regionally to reach audiences,” said Joan Weinstein, deputy director of the Getty Foundation, which is spearheading Pacific Standard Time. “Institutions like the Santa Monica Museum of Art and its Westside partners are making it easier for audiences to enjoy several cultural experiences in a single weekend, all within easy reach of each other.”

At the museum from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., follow co-curators Elsa Longhauser and Lisa Melandri, and museum docents on a tour of the exhibit Beatrice Wood: Career Woman — Drawings, Paintings, Vessels, and Objects, a comprehensive survey and new assessment of this seminal artist who made a remarkable body of ceramic luster ware until just a few years before her death in 1998 at the age of 105. This monographic exhibition — including over 100 works of art — offers a commemorative evaluation of Wood’s extraordinary life and career that traversed and contributed to the cultural and artistic highlights of the 20th century.

A bike tour will follow and introduce riders to Santa Monica’s new Bike Center, where they can quickly tune-up their bikes. From there the ride will hit the Sam Francis Gallery at Crossroads School for the exhibition She Accepts the Proposition: Women Gallerists and the Redefinition of Art in Los Angeles, 1967-1978 by guest curator Kristina Newhouse. The exhibition examines the critical contribution of Los Angeles women art dealers to the advancement of nontraditional art practices.

At Eames Office, visitors will view Essential Eames: The Design of Knowledge. The exhibition explores the classic yet contemporary educational philosophies of Charles and Ray Eames through an intimate look at their films, exhibitions, presentations, and former staff members’ recollections.

The final stop at 18th Street Arts Center will take visitors through Collaboration Labs: Southern California Artists and the Artists Space Movement, an exhibition that demonstrates that much of the Los Angeles time-based work (focused on performance/video) in the 1970s grew out of and fed into the California artists’ space movement.

A complete list of events can be found at www.pacificstandardtime.org/events or www.smmoa.org.

news@www.smdp.com

Editor-in-Chief Kevin Herrera contributed to this report.

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