It comes as no surprise that Ice Cube, a Los Angeles native and founding member of the seminal rap group N.W.A., is a big, big fan of California.
There's the millions of albums he's sold about his experiences living in South Central to testify to that. Last year, he released a documentary for ESPN expressing his appreciation for the NFL's Oakland Raiders, who, mind you, moved back to the Bay after only 13 seasons in Los Angeles. His movie Barbershop was set in Chicago, but almost everything else the artist has produced is straight West Coast.
So it should come as no surprise that Ice Cube is also big, big fan of California Modernism. If "Pacific Standard Time"—a sprawling series of exhibitions celebrating California design across multiple museums and institutions—tells us anything, it's that California architecture and design cannot be dissolved from West Coast culture, and vice versa.
In support of "Pacific Standard Time," Ice Cube stars in a video and talks about Cali architecture, Los Angeles freeways, and his love for Charles and Ray Eames.
"In a world full of McMansions, where the structure takes up all the land," he says," the Eameses made structure and nature one."
Why shouldn't Ice Cube love the Eameses? The response online to Ice Cube's video—on Facebook, on Twitter, and on various pop-culture websites—has been one of delighted surprise. But the entire premise of "Pacific Standard Time" is that there's no getting around California Modernism. If you grew up in California, you grew up in it. Love it or leave it.
In his writeup of "Pacific Standard Time" for this magazine, Aaron Betsky echoes Ice Cube:
With California, nature and humans have conspired to create one of the most extraordinary environments ever. It is not always a refined or good place—nature shakes things up with earthquakes, droughts, floods, and plagues of pests of almost biblical proportions, and humans have contributed sprawl, pollution, and social inequity. Yet even in its ugliness and injustice, its violence and its inhuman scale, it can be a place of great beauty, with exhilerating vistas that are both natural and social.
Established and emerging California musicians Anthony Kiedis (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Jason Schwartzman (who is also known for his various work in film) also pay homage to titans of West Coast art and design. Kiedis—who wrote the Los Angeles anthem "Under the Bridge"—talks typography with Ed Ruscha, one of the greatest West Coast painters around.
Schwartzman—who has written two great odes to California: one, "California," with the band Phantom Planet, and the other, "West Coast," as Coconut Records—takes a walk along Wilshire Boulevard, where he's haunted by the disembodied head of artist John Baldessari.
These artists' devotion to California should come as no surprise to anyone who's seen "Pacific Standard Time." Or as Ice Cube puts it: "Who are these people who have got a problem with L.A.? Maybe they're just mad they don't live here."