Getty Foundation Awards Research Grant for “Sexual Science and the Imagination"

ONE Archives at the USC Libraries was recently awarded a grant from the Getty Foundation to prepare for the next edition of the region-wide arts initiative Pacific Standard Time, scheduled to open in 2024. 

ONE Archives joins 45 cultural, educational, and scientific institutions throughout Southern California that received support from the Getty Foundation for their projects, all of which will explore the intersection of art and science. 

Pacific Standard Time will include dozens of simultaneous exhibitions and programs focused on the intertwined histories of art and science, past and present, that together address complex challenges of the 21st century—from climate change and environmental racism to the current pandemic and artificial intelligence—and the creative solutions these problems demand.   

The ONE Archives curatorial team will investigate a rich network of connections between science fiction fandom, occultism, and LGBTQ communities and activism in 1930s to 1950s Los Angeles. The exhibition, titled Sexual Science and the Imagi-nation, will feature evocative illustrations from sci-fi magazines, a wealth of visual artworks in a variety of media, and items like early sci-fi fan costumes that bring to life the rich imaginative worlds of these intersecting communities. 

Science fiction reading groups and occult communities provided imaginative spaces where 1930s-50s LGBTQ artists, thinkers, and activists could safely meet and develop their own visions of human societies, sexualities, and ways of being that were not constrained by the period’s rigid social norms. 

The ONE Archives curatorial team of Director Joseph Hawkins, Curator Alexis Bard Johnson, and Curatorial Research Assistant, Kelly Filreis will bring an art historical lens to bear on materials from a variety of artistic and popular culture genres, including early sci-fi cosplay and fan subcultures. They will also trace the activities of organizations like the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), Ordo Templi Orientis at the Agape Lodge, and ONE Inc. 

Research will include visits to archives and private collections of sci-fi, occult, and LGBTQ materials across the U.S. as well as the UK and consultations with researchers in numerous fields to craft the exhibition and related public programs. After the conclusion of the research phase, Sexual Science and the Imagi-nation will be presented at the USC Fisher Museum of Art in 2024 as part of the Pacific Standard Time collaboration. 

ONE Archives joins a diverse community of Southern California institutions that will present exhibitions, publications, performances, and public conversations and programs in 2024 as part of Pacific Standard Time. ONE previously organized Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano L.A. as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative and Cruising the Archive: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980. 

We’ll continue to share updates on the ONE Archives team’s progress on Sexual Science and the Imagi-nation. For now, here’s an early look at some of the intriguing artworks, communities, and figures explored through the exhibition. 

About Pacific Standard Time

Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented series of collaborations among institutions across Southern California. In each, organizations simultaneously present research-based exhibitions and programs that explore and illuminate a significant theme in the region’s cultural history.

In Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, more than 60 cultural institutions joined forces between October 2011 and March 2012 and rewrote the history of the birth and impact of the L.A. art scene. In Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, presented from September 2017 through January 2018, more than 70 institutions collaborated on a paradigm-shifting examination of Latin American and Latinx art, seen together as a hemispheric continuum.

Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty.

Image: Frederick Bennett Green, Cosmic Consciousness, 1977. ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.