About: Emily Beeny

I'm a curatorial assistant in the Department of Paintings at the Getty Museum, where, since 2009, I've worked on new acquisitions, special exhibitions, and a forthcoming online catalogue of the permanent collection. When not busy writing gallery labels, I continue to chip away at a Ph.D. in art history at Columbia University.

Posts by Emily

Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Labeling Turner

Modern Rome–Campo Vaccino, Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775–1851), 1839. Oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 48 1/4 in. (unframed), 48 1/4 x 60 3/8 x 4 3/8 in. (framed). The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011.6

Writing the gallery label for a painting can sometimes feel like an art form in itself, a kind of circumscribed descriptive poetry not unrelated to haiku. How, in fewer than 100 words, do you capture the essence of an object,… More»

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      What unexpected thing have you learned by working at a museum?

      The more time you take with the art, the better. 

      The first time I saw a work by James Turrell, my eyes totally deceived me. I walked into the room (Acton, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art) and saw a gray rectangle “painting,” but I was baffled and could not figure it out—I got closer and closer until my face was pressed against the wall next to it, trying to figure out what it was. When my friend stuck her arm into the painting and revealed the illusion (a square cut into the wall and lit to look flat), my mind was blown! You got me so good, James.

      Also, always offer to take a family photo for the tourists!

      What do you wish you could tell all people about yourself, museums, or life? 

      Everyone is creative.

      Emily, Education Technologist at the Getty, July 24, 2014

      07/29/14

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