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Film: The Revolution Will Be Televised

Alexandria Sivak,
Senior Communications Specialist,
The Getty

My name is Alexandria Sivak, and I’m a communications specialist at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which is a fancy way of saying I’m a museum publicist. I think the most important thing a publicist can do is tell a good story. We are the storytellers for our institutions and the people who weave compelling narratives to the press, the public and those ever elusive influencers. In 2011, the Getty funded a massive initiative called Pacific Standard Time, which revealed the untold story of art in Los Angeles from the 1950s through the 1980s. Artists like [Judy Chicago], [DeWain Valentine] and [Beatrice Wood] finally got their due. It was incredibly successful and we were still riding high on that success when in 2014 we announced our sequel so Pacific Standard Time, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, which is short for Latin American and Latino art in Los Angeles.

We’re doing something kind of crazy; presenting the work of over 1,000 Latin American and Latinas artists at over 70 museums and over 65 galleries across southern California. Most of these artists are virtually unknown outside of niche art communities, and many had never seen their work in a museum. But their work and their stories were vital to a full understanding of the intricate, beguiling and often unfair treatment or Latin American and Latinas art in California.

So the big question we had to ask ourselves was how do we convey to the public just how important this is? We wanted to let the world know that the scholarship, publications, exhibitions and events related to PST: LA/LA were ready to shake the foundation, shift the paradigm, change thinking, all those fancy buzzwords. So the Getty teamed up with [TBWA\Chiat\Day], a marketing firm that was up to this challenge. We looked at the sheer number of artworks, artists and exhibitions and came to the conclusion that our movement could be summed up in a simple phrase: there will be art. We also decided the best way to get the word out was to let the art speak for itself.

I’m giving out just one component of the overall campaign which includes a ton of print ads, billboards, buzz cards, [unintelligible 00:02:45]. Institutions that participated in PST have received these buttons to hand out to whomever they choose. Each describes a work of art in one of the exhibitions. So, for example, there will be a giant, [screaming mess], or there will be Los Angeles [unintelligible 00:03:04].

The goal is to cultivate [intrigue], to give the public a few juicy breadcrumbs that will lead them to something completely new to their eyes and ears. And we don’t include a lot of explanation but we trust the audience to fill in their own blanks. This talk is short and it’s tough to cram in all of PST’s lessons. We’re actually still learning because the initiative launched in September and it continues to January, so I’ll let you know if I’m still this confident in a few months. But if there’s one thing I’d like for you to take away today, it’s that when you have the opportunity to challenge your audience, to build knowledge and stir the pot, it’s important to take a step back and let the art speak to you and have faith that the work you’re presenting is powerful enough to stand on its own two feet. There will be art, but the art is just the beginning. Thank you.

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