About: John Tain

I'm assistant curator at the Getty Research Institute and curator of the Pacific Standard Time exhibition Greetings from L.A.: Artists and Publics, 1950–1980.

Posts by John

Posted in Art, Getty Research Institute, Research

Letters by René Magritte Join Research Institute’s Collection

Photo of Rene Magritte painting Les Promenades d'Euclide, 1955
© 2013 C. Herscovici, London / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The artist’s business dealings with gallerist Alexander Iolas are the focus of nine revealing letters from the 1950s and ’60s. More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Research Institute, Photographs, Film, and Video

The Quotable Man Ray

Datebooks and photographs from the Man Ray materials acquired by the Research Institute

Man Ray’s black and white portraits are widely celebrated, but two recent acquisitions by the Getty Research Institute shift the focus back on the famous photographer, providing a revealing picture of the often private artist. The first acquisition, a compact… More»

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      #ThyCaptionBe: You Look Like Hell

      You captioned this detail. And we’re revealing the full story now.

      Escaping the in-laws or medieval Sea World? It’s actually an extreme punishment for a dress code violation. 

      Here’s the full story:

      The Christian tale of Saint Josaphat is roughly based on the life of the Buddha in a kind of medieval game of telephone, in which the sources for the text passed through Christian circles in the Middle East in the 8th century before appearing in European versions in the 11th century. 

      Here an unsuitably dressed guest—we can see that his tattered clothing and scruffy facial hair have no place at the well-dressed gathering—is cast into the dark, open mouth of a terrifying animal. 

      To make matters worse, the story is a parable in which Barlaam, Josaphat’s Christian teacher, describes the sinful who do not make the cut at the Last Judgment.

      Holiday Lesson: Always check the dress code.

      #ThyCaptionBe is a celebration of modern interpretations of medieval aesthetics. You guess what the heck is going on, then we myth-bust.


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