When Getty Museum director Deborah Gribbon resigned yesterday, she made it clear that the mission of the Getty Trust was no longer the mission that J. Paul Getty had intended it be, the acquisition and public exhibition of great works of art. What she did not say, though, is what art world insiders have long known - that Getty Trust President Barry Munitz has instead turned the institution into an ego driven self-aggrandizement of... himself.
Aided by a board that has little or no knowledge of art - and a board that has few connections with Los Angeles - the money that should be going into building a great Los Angeles arts institution is now being squandered in hundreds of projects all over the world.
The upshot is that as masterpiece after masterpiece goes up for auction with the Getty sitting on the sidelines - it is becoming increasingly impossible for J. Paul Getty's dream of creating a first class art museum in Los Angeles to be realized. Instead, the money he left in trust to better the lives of the people of Los Angeles is being funneled to everywhere but Los Angeles.
Now I do not know the exact terms of Getty's will - but perhaps some of his heirs can sue the Trust to remove Munitz and the board from their offices and save J. Paul Getty's bequest to the people of Los Angeles. The secondary hope would be that even if they can not prevail in court - that possibly this would shame them into resigning and allowing new caretakers who will follow Getty's intent and vision.