Monday, April 04, 2005

Getty Museum To Further Abandon Los Angeles?

Besides having its newspapers all owned by out-of-state interests, corporate backwaters LA might now also see the Getty Museum partially decamping. See the below excerpt from the March 30th New York Times (which, of course, is the best newspaper to get news about... Los Angeles):

"The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which opened its Richard Meier-designed complex eight years ago and is reopening its Malibu villa next winter to house Roman antiquities, is thinking about its own future with the aid of Mr. Ellis. As the Guggenheim Museum continues to expand with satellites all over the world, for example, "We're asking ourselves, does that pattern make any sense for us?" said Barry Munitz, the president and chief executive of the J. Paul Getty Trust. "Do we want other sites? Do we want other partners?"

To refresh your memories, when the Getty Trust became the richest arts institution in the world, it was widely assumed that we would - finally - have a world-class art museum in Los Angeles. Alas, that was never to be.

Instead of building a world-class art collection, the Getty money has been increasingly funneled into various (albeit, very worthwhile) programs all over the world as the last remaining masterpieces of many artists in private hands have been picked up by museums in other cities.

And now, inexplicably, the Getty appears to be considering not only even further cutting back on building its local collection, but to then also distribute its very small painting collection - compared with art museums in other world class cites - to other parts of the world.

Say it isn't so Barry!


Anonymous said...

Look, having worked under Munitz and his bi-polar Chief Of Staff Jill Murphy, I can affirm that Mr. Munitz is only interested in lining his own pockets and embellishing his image (not even reputation). If that means sacrificing the collection in Los Angeles, sobeit. As long as he has access to a Porsche and a tanning booth, he's OK.

His comments after Dr. Gribbon departed the Museum were typical of his myopia. The entire art establishment knew Dr. Gribbon (and for that matter anyone was around before his "coronation" )was increasingly upset at Mr. Munitz's departure from Mr. Getty's will and plan. Yet, Mr. Munitz is quoted as not having an idea why she would leave the institution.

The Getty and it's endowment are huge and unlikely to disappear (no matter what Munitz attempts to do with it). The Malibu Museum was a beautiful place and will be again when it re-opens. The Brentwood Museum is a monlith, described on talk radio as a "sewage treatment plant" and a "prison" when it was under construction.

I wish I could identify myself, but I need my pension. THank you for this opportunity to write.

Anonymous said...

Thank you "Anonymous 10:21 pm" for your keen Getty observations. I too worked at the Getty and was privvy to witnessing Barry Munitz's abuse of funds to afford his lifestyle and tan (having an assistant on call to drive to Beverly Hills to pick up tanning lotion on Getty time? Give me a break). Several colleagues were laid off from the Getty the same week Munitz's Porsche Cayenne arrived (of course this car is to "conduct Getty business and to drive Trustees around when they're in town". I didn't realize a $70K transportation vechile was needed to do so). Did everyone forget that Munitz was implicated in a Securities Scandal in the late 90s, and as part of the settlement he cannot serve on a Securities Board. When is this guy going to get an indictment or a forced permanent leave? Here is a man who refuses to address the Getty staff as a whole and spends most of his time working on other ventures on Getty time or abusing use of Getty property for personal soirees (does his old-time chess club buddies really need an private evening affair at the Getty?). Long-time employees have left the Getty in droves. Such a shame, it used to be a wonderful place to work. I long for the days of the fair and thoughtful Harold Williams. In a perfect world Barry would be forced out and awaiting legal proceedings and the Board would actually have Trustees with art backgrounds. What a wonderful dream.

I'm anonymous too, I have a pension to collect as well.
Signed, Glad to be gone

Anonymous said...

I am a former Getty employee who agrees with the above comments. Now that Munitz is out maybe the Trustees will get a clue and hire a director who actually appreciates fine art and wants the Getty to start collecting it again. It is very sad that a gambling casino in Las Vegas (Bellagio) has a better collection of Impressionist paintings than the Getty does.
--Another pensioner signs off