The Chicago'ification of LA continues- but in a good way - with the Getty Trust landing one of the most brilliant and knowledgeable and effective scholars and administrators in the art world. And even while excellent Michael Brand runs the two Getty Museums technically, what resources the museums get is dependent upon what the Trust allocates to it, and that is why it was so critical that a hard core art person runs the Trust.
Christmas has come early to the LA art world.
James N. Wood named Getty Trust president
By Christopher Reynolds
Times Staff Writer
10:42 AM PST, December 4, 2006
James N. Wood, a 65-year-old art historian and former president of the Art Institute of Chicago, will take over the presidency of the Getty Trust, Getty officials announced today.
He'll start in February.
The Getty, the wealthiest arts organization in the world with an endowment of more than $5 billion, includes two museum sites — one a modern campus on a Brentwood hilltop, the other a re-created villa at the edge of Malibu — along with research and conservation institutes and a grant-making foundation.
Wood succeeds interim president Deborah Marrow, a veteran Getty administrator who took the post in February after the abrupt resignation under fire of Barry Munitz. Munitz, former head of the California State University system, led the Getty for seven years but was forced out amid the attorney general's probe of his free spending and other irregularities.
Wood, educated at Williams College in Massachusetts, began his career with a series of academic and museum positions, including a post at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He took over as director of the St. Louis Art Museum in 1975, then moved on to serve as president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980 to 2003.
His specialty is European painting and sculpture from the 16th to 20th centuries, along with American painting and sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Wood "was at the top of my personal list" of best candidates, said Jeremy Strick, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. "He's a brilliant choice. This is someone who's spent his career in art museums, leading one of the greatest institutions in the country, and indeed the world."
Strick, who worked for Wood as a curator at the Art Institute from 1996 to 1999, called Wood "deeply reflective and at times quiet — but decisive." He noted that the Art Institute's president oversees not only a museum but an art school, a many-sided job description with some similarity to the Getty Trust presidency. Strick also noted that Wood played a key role in the Chicago institute's increased emphasis on contemporary art in recent years.
Getty officials said Marrow would return to her former job as director of the Getty Foundation when Wood arrives.