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.
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.
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.