Behind the Scenes, Getty Center

Angela Merkel Visits the Getty

Thousands of German tourists come to the Getty each year, but today’s visit was special. The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, visited the Getty and was welcomed by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Getty president and CEO Jim Wood, and the director of the Getty Research Institute, art historian—and fellow German—Thomas Gaehtgens.

Thomas Gaehtgens, Jim Wood, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Angela Merkel outside the entrance to the Getty Research Institute

Thomas Gaehtgens, Jim Wood, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Angela Merkel outside the entrance to the Getty Research Institute

The day began as trams filled with press arrived on the plaza at the top of the hill, and were ushered to a cordoned-off area where they waited for the Mayor and the Chancellor to meet.

Press gather at the Getty Center for Angela Merkel's visit

Nearby, a school group from the Community Honoring Inclusive Model Education (CHIME) Institute’s Arnold Schwarzenegger Elementary School—a school in Woodland Hills that addresses special needs within their existing child development program—received a special treat when the Mayor and the Chancellor stopped by to talk to them. The Mayor couldn’t resist asking them if they knew where Germany was.

We worked with the Mayor’s office, the German consulate, and the Secret Service to make sure things went smoothly. It was definitely an experience trying to keep the press under control (they were supposed to stay in the “press pen”) while the cameras rushed all around us to photograph the Mayor talking to the kids!

After visiting with the kids on the museum steps, the Mayor and the Chancellor went to see a medieval German book in the exhibition Building the Medieval World: Architecture in Illuminated Manuscripts.

The gallery visit was followed by the lunch meeting, which was attended by L.A. business and entertainment leaders. Los Angeles is the fifth most popular U.S. destination for German tourists, and Germany is the fourth-largest source of foreign investment in Southern California. Berlin is also one of L.A.’s sister cities.

Visitors to the Getty loved seeing all the VIPs, the Secret Service, and the photographers—and were thrilled to see the Chancellor and the Mayor. Just another day at the Getty…

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      Olympian Census #3: Poseidon

      Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

      Roman name: Neptune

      Employment: God of the Sea

      Place of residence: A fancy palace somewhere in the Aegean Sea

      Parents: Cronus and Rhea

      Marital status: Married to Amphitrite, a sea goddess, but had many affairs just like his brother Zeus

      Offspring: Had many children including Triton, Theseus, Orion, Polyphemos and Arion

      Symbol: Trident, horse, and dolphin

      Special talent: Starting earthquakes & Shapeshifting into a horse to pursue women

      Highlights reel:

      • When Goddess Demeter turned into a mare to escape Poseidon’s pursuit, Poseidon also turned into a horse and mated with her, creating a talking horse baby, Arion.
      • Athena became the patron goddess of Athens over Poseidon by giving the city an olive tree, which produced wood, oil, and food. Poseidon had given them a salt-water spring. Nice going, Poseidon.
      • Poseidon cursed Olysseus to wander the seas for 10 years after the Trojan War in revenge for Olysseus blinding his son, the cyclops Poplyphemos.

      Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.


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