Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute

Gallery at the Getty Research Institute Undergoing Dramatic Expansion

Something is missing at the Getty Center—and something new is coming.

The Getty Research Institute Gallery, home to rotating exhibitions featuring objects from its rich special collections, is closed in preparation for a major renovation and expansion, which begins this Monday, June 10, and is slated to be complete in fall 2013.

This space has been home to rotating exhibitions in the Getty Research Institute since 1997. It will soon be joined by a larger, 2,000-square-foot gallery.

Housed in the Getty Research Institute building, adjacent to its 1-million-volume art library, the Gallery has been home since 1997 to a steady rotation of exhibitions that combine scholarly discovery with engaging stories: from a leaf-by-leaf exploration of an artist’s book to behind-the-scenes tales of the art market to photographs and recordings of performance art. The exhibitions provide a window into the collection and its many diverse treasures—rare books, photographs, prints, artists’ and dealers’ archives, and more. (Two particularly wonderful and lesser-known areas include optical devices and the history of alchemy.)

The collection is an active one. It’s the focus for research conducted by visiting scholars throughout the year, it’s consulted daily by researchers and students visiting the humming Special Collections Reading Room, and its materials regularly travel on loan to other institutions for exhibitions, both locally and internationally. Many of the shows featured in the Getty Center’s Exhibitions Pavilion, including Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990, are conceived and primarily drawn from the GRI’s collections. Behind the scenes, the GRI’s holdings are being steadily digitized, many books are being shared on the Internet Archive, and new acquisitions are being catalogued so researchers can comb them for new discoveries. There’s a lot going on.

Fact is, the Research Institute’s collection has outgrown its 800 square feet of gallery room. There is simply too much we want to show and share with you. The expansion will add 2,000 square feet, creating a second gallery.

This space (the periodicals reading room) will be transformed into a second gallery to house larger exhibitions.

As active construction proceeds, the Research Institute’s main entrance and lobby will be closed. We’ll let you know what’s happening here on The Iris as the project progresses and in advance of the inaugural exhibition for the new space, which is in active development now. You can also check a blog space devoted to Library access news.

Images by Research Institute photographer John Kiffe.

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      #ProvenancePeek: Winslow Homer at the Met

      Every art object has a story—not only of how it was made, but of how it changed hands over time until it found its current home. That story is provenance.

      The provenance of this Winslow Homer marine, or seascape, is relatively straightforward as these things go. It was entered into the stock books of M. Knoedler and Co, prominent New York art dealers, in October of 1901. Knoedler & Co purchased the painting, titled Cannon Rock, from Chicago pastor and educator Dr. Frank Gunsaulus on October 24, 1901. Just over two weeks later, on November 9, the firm sold it to art collector and dry goods merchant George Arnold Hearn. Hearn made a gift of his collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1906, and that is where Cannon Rock has lived ever since.

      This seascape is one of Homer’s later works, notable for its flatness. Homer spent the last 25 years of his life living in coastal Maine, painting land- and seascapes that both respect and challenge nature’s authority. Cannon Rock’s mellow provenance tale belies the powerful scene it presents.

      The stock books of the Knoedler Gallery have recently been transformed into a searchable database which anyone can query for free.

      Cannon Rock, 1895, Winslow Homer. Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of George A. Hearn, 1906 (above); pages from the Knoedler stock and sales books listing the painting (below).


      #ProvenancePeek is a monthly series by research assistant Kelly Davis peeking into #onthisday provenance finds from the M. Knoedler & Co. archives at the Getty Research Institute.


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