Monday, November 07, 2005

Why Did The New York Times Have To Cover The Story The LA Times Missed??

The LA Times - ultimately - has failed to properly cover the disaster at the Getty Museum under Barry Munitz and his accomplice/bag man, John H. Biggs - for the the same reason that the Getty's board and leadership has failed as a Los Angeles arts institution.

The Getty is run by by a manager and a board with little knowledge or concern about the art the Getty collects and many of them do not even have a connection with the city of Los Angeles. Until recently, the chair, one of the vice chairs and two other board members lived in New York along with a fifth member who also lived on the East Coast.

It is not surprising, then, that Getty no longer even pretends it is using its resources to build a major art collection in Los Angeles; instead, they now they want other people to give them their collections. But even though much earlier both Christopher Knight and Suzanne Muchnic expertly, if briefly, weighed on the Getty Trust's failings in building a collection, that part of the story has been largely ignored since the first of the year. To quote from Saturday's New York Times article:

Overlooked in these controversies, some of Mr. Munitz's critics say, is the harm suffered by the museum itself, including acquisitions, curatorial choices and departures by talented staff members who bridled at Mr. Munitz's decisions and style.

So the real story of how Barry Munitz, with John H. Biggs' consent, looted the Getty's coffers to improve his social standing - and then how their collective actions have ensured that the Getty Museum will never reach the potential it once had, remains largely ignored in the LA Times. The future of Los Angeles' cultural life is simply not a story that the Times ownership and management seems to be interested in.

So, usual, if you want to know what is going on in Los Angeles - you have to read... the New York Times.

But getting back to the Munitz buttering up people (see prior, linked post at top and link to New York Times story) who do not even own art to donate to the museum (but who yet have impeccable social credentials and often a yacht, of course), even if one day Barry should accidentally run into someone with a major collection appropriate for the Getty - why should they donate it the Getty?

To phrase it more clearly - why should anyone who has spent decades building a major collection worth hundreds of millions of dollars turn around and donate it to a five billion institution that is so uninterested in its own collection that they only spend 20 million a year buying art - less than 4/10 of one per cent of their endowment?

The answer, of course, is almost no one.

No comments: