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The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was swift and confusing, with breaking news and information about the virus changing seemingly by the hour. Around the world, art museums, as community gathering sites, have had to face difficult decisions. In this two-part series, six museum directors discuss the pandemic and its repercussions for their institutions. These candid, insightful conversations address wide-ranging topics, from the resources that museum directors are drawing on to philosophical exchanges about the role of museums in society.

This episode features Matthew Teitelbaum of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ann Philbin of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and Timothy Potts of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A grid of three portraits of museum directors.

From left: Matthew Teitelbaum of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston); Ann Philbin of the Hammer Museum; and Timothy Potts of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Museum Directors on COVID-19 and Its Impact on Museums, Part 1


JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, President of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
ANN PHILBIN: The way I’ve been feeling about this whole thing is it’s like surfing. You try to stay just ahead of the wave, but you have to remain completely responsive to how it changes every second. It’s a ride. And if you kinda relax into it, it goes much better.
CUNO: In this episode, I speak with museum directors Matthew Teitelbaum of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Annie Philbin of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and our own Tim Potts of the J. Paul Getty Museum about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on art institutions.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Hammer Museum, and the Getty Museum are three very different institutions with divergent histories. But their directors, Matthew Teitelbaum, Annie Philbin, and Tim Potts, suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves facing similar challenges and consequences as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. I spoke to these three directors recently about their experiences during this uncertain time, and their accounts were revealing and candid.
This is the second of two conversations I had with museum directors about the current pandemic and its effects on their museums. In part one, I spoke with museum directors Max Hollein of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Kaywin Feldman of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and James Rondeau of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Okay, thank you, Annie, Tim, and Matthew, for joining me on this episode of the Getty’s podcast. We meet under strained circumstances. I’m in a spare bedroom in our apartment, with an unmade bed as my desk, and I imagine your settings are not much different. But the topic we’re going to discuss, COVID-19 and its effect on art museums, is much more serious than my unmade bed. So let’s begin with the pandemic itself. And let’s begin with Annie. Annie, when did you first learn of COVID-19 and how did you hear about it?
PHILBIN: Well, like most of us, I read about COVID-19 when it was becoming an epidemic in Asia. And as I saw reports of it spreading to other parts of Asia and into Europe, it became clear that it was probably gonna be something we were gonna have to deal with, as well.
I think since we are, first and foremost, a gathering place, we started to really think about it in mid-February. We were a voting place on Super Tuesday. I recall very vividly we had 3,000 people standing in line, ready to vote, and it was scary because it was just when people were beginning to practice social distancing. And some people were doing it and others weren’t. And I remember thinking this is probably a very pivotal moment here. It was scary. It was very scary. So that was first week in March.
CUNO: Yeah. Matthew, what about you in Boston?
MATTHEW TEITELBAUM: Sort of the same. I had either the virtue or the challenge of having some pretty intense conversations with a leading public health official here, probably third week in February, as we were trying to figure out, at this point, only getting information from news sources, what this meant for us.
And he said at that time—so we hadn’t even come into March yet—that he believed 70% of Americans would have this virus; that many would not know they had it. That would be one of the challenges, but that it was gonna be all over the place. That we would probably, as a public space, be looking at closing. And I looked at him and said, “Really?” And he looked at me, he said, “Well, not only closing. Probably rolling closures. I think that this is so unknown to us that it’s very likely that there’re going to be waves of having to deal with new information.” And I didn’t know at that point what the actions would be, but I was put on notice pretty early that this was something that we’d have to contend with.
CUNO: What did he mean by rolling closings?
TEITELBAUM: That we’d open, and then two weeks later, we’d have to close.
CUNO: And then reopen again and close again.
TEITELBAUM: Yeah. And it’s unclear whether we’re going to have to. It’s unclear what that would mean. But it certainly seems as if his thought, which was a late-February thought, now may be a bit more prophetic.
CUNO: Tim, what about you at the Getty?
TIM POTTS: As the others were speaking, I was thinking I was aware of it in January. But just hearing there’d been an outbreak of some kind in China, without it being quite clear yet that this had the potential to be one of these dramatic, indeed pandemic, events. But certainly, by February. February was the month, I think, where we all very quickly began to come to terms with the fact that this was something we’d have to deal with in a very serious way. Though not really clear what that would be, but that it was going to have huge impact.
CUNO: So is it fair to say that, for all of you, that the question was immediately a health question, or that you had to deal with safety and health of your staff and the visitors to the museum? Matthew?
TEITELBAUM: Yes, I think phrased that way, it was a public health issue. I would say that the way I started to analyze or respond or process what this meant was very much through the two lenses; first of staff, and secondly of public. In other words, very much about the fact that we were a gathering place, we’re a place of congregation and convening, and what would that mean for issues of safety, of trust, of confidence in the kind of institution we were. Which is why, you know, when we finally got to the question of when we were going to close, we made the decision in three hours, and it all just happened.
CUNO: And Annie, was [it the] same for you?
PHILBIN: Yes, exactly the same. And we decided very quickly. I remember on Friday the 13th, March 13th, we were sitting around the table saying, “What should we do?” And then literally within hours, we said, “We’re closing.” And the next day, we were closed. But it was definitely about safety and health of the staff and our visitors. We were very much in touch with our UCLA partners, who were guiding us. And when they started to take steps to shift classes to remote learning, we knew it was time.
And it was remarkably smooth, I would say. We literally just didn’t show up to work on Monday. Actually, a couple of weeks in advance, we had made sure that all of our staff had the equipment to do their work remotely. And I would say there was shock and paralysis for about a week. And then everyone kicked into gear at home.
CUNO: Tim, was that pretty much the same for you?
POTTS: Annie will remember this. I sent an email—I think it was on the Friday morning of the 13th—to the Hammer and the LACMA, all the major art museums in Los Angeles. This is when talk of there going— almost inevitably going to be closures. We’re waiting for guidance from county and so on, but it is coming down the pike, and we just need to get ready for it.
So I had sent an email to all of my colleagues as museum directors in LA saying, “Can we please coordinate this? We’re all aware that this is probably likely to happen. But as much as possible, let’s agree on what the sort of messaging will be, and let’s not just hear from a news feed that LACMA has closed or that the Getty’s closed, and the others are then being immediately asked by the press, ‘Well, why haven’t you closed?’” So that was my email in the morning. By mid-afternoon, we the Getty were making an announcement that we were closing tomorrow, Saturday.
So I sent an embarrassed follow-up email saying, “Sorry, guys. I was asking you all to keep in touch, but our leadership and trustees have got involved, and we have made the decision we’re closing tomorrow. Sorry I couldn’t give you more warning.” And it just, of course, snowballed from there and by Monday, pretty well everyone had made an announcement. And we, having made that decision, immediately got our thoughts together about the working-from-home priorities and what would need to happen. By the end of Tuesday, we were all off-site, except for the absolutely essential facilities and security personnel.
CUNO: Now, the three of you were getting information from all corners, I would guess, and not only from your local authorities—and local authorities could be a city and a county—but there were also state authorities and there were federal authorities and there were board of trustees and there were members of staff. Matthew, how did you deal with all that incoming of information?
TEITELBAUM: Well, I’m happy to answer that question, but I have to just pause around this historic conversation, ’cause I think this is the first time I’ve ever been in a conversation with colleagues from Los Angeles, where Boston was actually ahead of them. You know, like, I hear Timothy and Annie talk about Friday. I mean, we were done by the end of the day Thursday, so we were a day ahead. And it just feels really good, so I just need to pause for a moment and say that.
Listen, I think the most important thing I could say about this and about the closing and about how did we aggregate information, is this is all iterative. It is all in phases. You make the best decision you can with the information you have at that time. And by the way, we’re all making decisions we didn’t learn in director’s school. But we’re making the best decisions we can at a given time; and then the next day, we make another set of decisions and we try and build on them.
So I’m open to all information. I have inputs from staff, I have inputs from the board, I have inputs from public health officials, I have inputs from government officials. And I’m aggregating that all the time.
It’s interesting how the board—you asked specifically about the board—have stepped up in ways that are entirely positive, entirely supportive, entirely integrated, in the sense that they’re bringing to the table their own personal experience, long, short. They’re in the same moment that we’re in.
And so what I would say is, you take the best information you can at a given moment, and then you make a decision, and then you communicate as clearly, as clearly as you can.
CUNO: And Annie, was the information that you were getting consistent one day to the next, or was it contradictory or in conflict?
PHILBIN: What Matthew is saying is true. This metaphor is for you, Matthew. The way I’ve been feeling about this whole thing is it’s like surfing. You try to stay just ahead of the wave, but you have to remain completely responsive to how it changes every second. It’s a ride. And if you kinda relax into it, it goes much better. It changes every single day. And if you’re not responsive to it, if you make decisions that are hard and fast, it won’t work. Everything has to stay fluid. It’s an incredible exercise to do with an institution.
CUNO: Yeah. I think I remember Boston, Matthew, that you announcing a closing for a period of time; two weeks or three weeks or until some date. When did you have to sort of rethink that?
TEITELBAUM: When we had to rethink it was about three days after we announced it. We closed on the Thursday, the 12th. We announced that we thought we would be closed for a month, thirty days. We announced we would pay all of our staff, our paid interns, our hourly workers, our— You know, we were out of the gate by saying, “We’re keeping you together, because our hope is that we will open in thirty days.” And in less than a week, we knew we weren’t going to. In less than a week, we could tell that the public health officials were so unclear—not because they weren’t capable, but because the information they were getting was so unstable—they were unclear about how to project the needs in the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts that opening up in thirty days was not going to be possible.
And you know, I think that if you were gonna ask any of us when we’re gonna reopen, we’re all gonna have the same question back to you. On what basis could we make that decision right now?
CUNO: Yeah, at the Getty, we’re thinking through various scenarios of reopening and what that might mean, and what it might cost and how we might protect the staff and the visitors to the museum. Tim, take us through the process that the Getty has in place dealing with these kinds of issues.
POTTS: Well, we have disaster preparedness plans for things that we’re more familiar with, like fires and earthquakes and so on. But you know, frankly, there just hasn’t been anything like this before. So there’ll be bits of that sort of planning that were still relevant to our relocating offsite. And the fires are a good example. That involved, again, most of the staff leaving the site and working from home.
But this one is so much longer and has so much sort of deeper consequences for the way we work, and into the indefinite future, that it’s, I think, gonna take us much longer to work through what they are. And some of those consequences, we probably can’t even see the shape of them yet. But now that we’ve settled into that routine, of course, how we make that work on the long term is now the big challenge.
CUNO: Yeah. I think I remember that, Annie, that you had to furlough student guards or student tour guards. How did you come to that decision, and what’s the benefit to the students? We should say that the Hammer, for those who don’t know, of course, is embedded in UCLA. How did that affect your decision making, with regard to staff?
PHILBIN: We had 150 students, have 150 students, on our staff. And they all work small amounts of hours every week. We decided to let them go right away, because the campus was shutting down. And most of these students were going home. They were told to leave the dorms, they were told to leave the campus. And we had a lot of conversations about how we could keep some of them on and some of them off, and we just couldn’t do that; it didn’t make sense.
So we made the decision to furlough them. Subsequently, we are able to now pay them through almost the entire summer, because of the SBA loan. But it was one of those moments where this was not something we were going to announce. And the LA Times called and said, “MoCA just let go of ninety-five people. Have you had to do that?” And I said, “Yes, we did have to furlough some students.” And then it became the headline, which then had all kinds of repercussions with UCLA.
I wish we could rewrite that decision and the way it unfolded. But other than those students, we have made it an absolute priority to keep our entire full-time staff employed in their jobs and with their health benefits. And it looks like we’re gonna be able to do that straight through the whole thing, I hope.
CUNO: Matthew, I think you said earlier that you were able to maintain staff; is that still the case?
TEITELBAUM: Well, you know, the question is, what does maintain staff mean? I have a career where I hope people would say I balance compassion with a business-like approach. And that’s certainly what I’m trying to do in this moment. It is very hard. We have furloughed over 300 staff members. A furlough is not a layoff; it’s a temporary layoff. And I wish people made the distinction, because furloughed employees still have a job.
I don’t wanna get too technical, but once we knew we weren’t opening up by the middle of April and we set the end of June as a target, and to plan, to create a business plan around that, we saw that as basically a second chapter. And we said, “What should we do during the second chapter?” And our highest goal—we have achieved it—is to keep every staff member at their current compensation or very close, plus the privilege of all their health benefits during this period of time. And we have done that for over 600 staff.
The problem is that you can never say a furloughed employee has stayed whole, ’cause the concept of staying whole, I think, is just something we can’t put our arms around at the moment. Everybody is diminished. And somebody who’s been furloughed does have a sense of loss, and maybe even a lack of respect and a certain kind of anxiety. So I don’t say that neutrally; but they are staying more or less at their compensation level. And we are working very hard at fundraising, cash reserves, thinking about what a business-like proposition would be like after July 1st.
Which goes back again to the reason why it is so challenging to be business-like. Because you need to make decisions based on the facts you have, and we don’t know two major things. We don’t know when we’re gonna open, and we don’t know whether our proposition for our audiences is gonna be appealing to them, so we can’t actually set our attendance targets. And we are, to some degree, quite dependent on attendance for revenue.
CUNO: You mentioned that we don’t know when you’re gonna reopen. I think that’s true for all museums. And so that puts into play the question of when you’re gonna be able to open exhibitions that you had planned. Tim, talk to us about that aspect of your job right now.
POTTS: Yeah. Exhibitions are one of the most complicated parts of the puzzle, because they are planned years in advance, and a change to one of them, if you have to shift the timing, of course, has a domino effect, ’cause everything else in the chain then gets pushed along or has to be adjusted in some other way to make it work. There’s, of course, many layers to these decisions. It’s not just the simple timing one of, now that we’ve had this delay and exhibitions have been stuck in one place for longer than was anticipated; it’s also the financial implications of these shutdowns and when the reopenings will happen.
Will museums in general be able to afford the program they had in their budgets before corona? And so what is the sort of second wave of financial crisis management that will happen during the course of the rest of this year, and how will that affect exhibitions and programming generally? And those, of course, are still big unknowns ’cause they’ll be driven by the health situation, which will determine if and when we can reopen again.
Matthew and I were on a call earlier this week with the major museums from around the country. And I think the thinking, which was originally to look at reopenings perhaps in the late summer or September, a lot of institutions are being forced to consider looking at earlier openings, but for reasons they don’t welcome. Which is that to keep their staff on, and not having revenues coming in, is this huge financial crunch. And in some cases, political forces or the authorities under which these museums operate, whether it’s a governor or whatever, are mandating openings. Even in June, in a couple of cases. All of these moving parts, of course, are just so unpredictable that as Matthew was saying, you respond and make the best decisions you can on one day, and the very next day you may have to reverse it.
CUNO: Yeah. Matthew said that there was nothing in director’s school that prepared him for the decisions you had to make. Annie, what did you draw on in the course of the weeks in which you had to face these facts and had to make decisions based on them?
PHILBIN: A very talented, sensitive, compassionate staff. I must say that in the beginning, I didn’t turn to my board immediately. We really spent enormous amounts of time, my deputies and I, really discussing what to do. And every time I’ve come back to the board, weekly now, with our recommendations, they are deeply supportive. But it really is— it’s gut. So much of this is just following our guts. There’s just no other way to do it. And to really think about, in a very human way, people’s lives.
Whatever decisions you make, how does that actually affect people’s lives? How does it affect their well-being and how they feel about themselves and how they feel about [how] their institution feels about them?
And I’d just like to mention, because I did say that we’re managing to keep our staff paid and in their jobs, one of the reasons is because we’re not dependent on admission. Very interesting kind of almost irony and silver lining in this. When we went free, we had to find all of our funding through really hardly any revenue, in terms of exhibition fees or admission, but almost all philanthropy and from our endowment.
So those two things, of course, are going to be hit very badly, and we will have a very difficult year or two; but we’re not in trouble now. And it’s been a huge comfort to our staff, for us to be able to say to them, “You’re fine through the summer. So just let’s relax right now and know that you’re in your jobs.” And it’s a gift. I know it’s a gift and I know that we’re very lucky in that way because a lot of institutions have not had that experience.
CUNO: Matthew, you didn’t learn these things in director’s school. Where did you learn them? What are you drawing from?
TEITELBAUM: Well, you know, I think that first of all, we’re learning a lot about each other during this period of time, both as individuals and in relation to our profession. And I have to say the ways in which museum directors and museum professionals are sharing learnings and making themselves vulnerable, actually, to say, “If these are the situations, what do you think I should do?” I mean, these conversations are different than they’ve been ever, and lots of good things are happening. I’m not saying I like the circumstances, but I’m just telling you it’s bringing out a lot of good in our profession, and it makes me very proud.
You know, I often talk about being values driven. Which is to say, reciprocal, caring, thoughtful, strategic. These are values that I would hope we all think about in our leadership of our institutions. And I think that this moment asks us to really think about them, express them clearly, and make our actions consistent with those values.
And what you’re hearing—and I think it’s deeply true—is that we’re all going first to our staff. We’re thinking about audiences when we think about the business coming back; but we’re not dealing with audiences at the moment. We’re dealing with staff. And I think that what is getting me through—that is to say, what aspect of my thinking is sort of the throughline—is the deep belief that the role that museums play in convening and creating space for sharing in our communities is going to be more important than ever.
Do I think the social distancing and the way in which we share has to be rethought? Surely it does. But the notion that our institutions can play a role in the rebuilding and the resetting of our communities is really, really energizing in its own way, notwithstanding that getting there, putting the pieces together, is constant, constant work. So I guess my answer, Jim, is to stay true to your values and to try and make your decisions as consistent as they can be in relation to those stated values.
CUNO: Yeah, Tim, ask you the same question, but recognizing that you are in a much larger kind of institution, a multifaceted institution, in which you don’t have complete control over the direction the institution is taking—that is, the Getty Trust itself. What are you drawing upon to help you through this, and how are you negotiating relationships with the other parts of the Getty?
POTTS: In a situation like this which is so out of the box, you’re drawing upon your whole of life experiences. Of course, the finances is one aspect of it, and understanding that and understanding consequences; of course, that has to happen. But that’s clearly not what’s driving decisions. It is about the people who are most directly affected, which as everyone’s been saying, is our staff.
You know, we at the Getty are, again, very privileged. Annie was saying because they also don’t charge. We’re doubly privileged. We have a very significant endowment and we also don’t rely on the revenues for exhibitions. And I think it’s been very important in this context that the Trust has been prepared to say in strong terms to the staff, there will not be layoffs, that everyone is on their existing salaries, and there will not be adjustments till we get through this.
Perhaps the only other thing I’d add is I think so many really big questions, issues, challenges are being put on the table by this experience, which go way beyond what just museums do, or what even culture and the arts, to how we live. We’re always told how interconnected we are, and we kind of understand it. But this has been that absolutely dramatic and unmissable experience, which has brought it home in a way I don’t think anything else ever has.
PHILBIN: Jim, can I add something? And maybe we’re obviously more acutely aware of this at the Hammer, because we have a huge contemporary focus.
But one of my biggest concerns, besides my staff, is the community of artists that we live with, and artists in general. Because the truth is, in some ways, they’re the first to be “furloughed,” so to speak. They lost their infrastructure of support immediately, whether they were young emerging artists that depended on small art spaces or performance fees or small galleries. I mean, all of the galleries, the museums—everything that artists need to survive—have basically been shut down and stalled.
The gallery system will not come back as it was. We don’t know how we’ll all come back. But it’s truly one of the biggest concerns I have. And as we all know, artists are going to probably be the first ones to articulate how we’re gonna return to life, in a certain kind of way. And they will be the ones we follow. But right now, they’re in a very bad state. And at some point when we all save our institutions and our staffs, I think that’s something that we need to start looking at: how can we help the artists?
CUNO: Yeah. So asking the question about the legacy of COVID-19, that’s gonna be a part of it. But what do you think will have fundamentally changed your museums? Annie, starting with you, and then going to Matthew and Tim.
PHILBIN: Well, one thing is— comes to mind immediately. And that is, we will not return to a museum that isn’t very involved with online activities. Only in six weeks have we become not adept yet, but we’ve become very engaged with a whole audience that we didn’t have before.
So many of the programs that we’re putting online now, we’re receiving, you know, four, five times the audiences we had when they were in a 300-seat theater. This is clear to us, that it is something we need to develop further, we need to fundraise for.
I worry a lot about the gathering aspect, because that is so much of what we supply and what we do for our community. And that, I don’t know how that’s going to unfold, and it’s probably my biggest worry in all of this.
CUNO: Yeah. Matthew, what do you think the legacy of COVID-19 will be on the MFA in Boston?
TEITELBAUM: It’s very hard to imagine that Humpty-Dumpty will look the way he did before. In other words, the notion of us attaining normal shouldn’t be our goal. Our goal should be to create institutions, recreate, reset institutions that have deep meaning in our communities. Which, by the way, all of our institutions have had for many years, and are serving wide communities in ways that are truly admirable.
The question that Annie raises—how are people gonna gather; what trust do they have in public space and public institutions—I think is a very, very big question. And I guess I think it makes me believe that one of the legacies will be an increased commitment to the direction in which I believe many museums were moving. And that is the notion of reciprocity.
We’re actually connected by something that’s invisible. I don’t know why that interests me so much, but I think about it a lot. Like, we’re actually connected by something we can’t see. Which means that the notion of being connected, and I’m gonna say being reciprocal, in the way that we develop and share knowledge and develop and share experiences is more prevalent than we think. So how do we use that to deepen our institutions’ connection to our communities and our usefulness to our communities and our meaning in our communities?
If we can figure out the social distancing, if we can figure out how to express why people should trust that we are a safe place to gather, we have extraordinary potential to play an increased role in mending and repairing our communities. I feel that deeply. And I think that will be one of the legacies, is that we will find an even louder and prouder voice.
PHILBIN: That’s beautiful, Matthew.
CUNO: Yeah, Matthew, thank you. Tim, your thoughts?
POTTS: Well, I think there’s no question that this has pushed us further along in exploring ways we can engage with audiences beyond those who come onsite. So in other words, through versions of digital engagement. And not just engagement; digital experience, which is so different in its nature than is the one of being on a site, in a gallery, standing in front of an object.
So that’s been, if you have to say one of the very, very few positive outcomes from this very devastating situation, is that we’re thinking in a very focused and creative—and surprising ourselves, in many cases, with how successful we can be. This will become, I think, a much more central part of what museums can do and will want to do, and another dimension, a whole new dimension of the experience of art and culture for people around the world.
Having said that, I also have to feel that there will be, hopefully, a vaccine; there will be treatments; there will be a time when we’re not as afraid as we are today to go out and just be amongst other people. And the instinct for having a social contact with the world in a[n] unmediated way, I think will still be there. I think it’d be an overreaction to say the museum of the past, where people stand in a gallery and look at a work of art and talk to their friend about it, that that is dead or over. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think we should be defeatist in that way. And I just don’t think that should even be on the table as one of the outcomes we plan for. We have to get through this phase where we need very different protocols, practices, to make sure our public can trust us when we say it’s safe to come to the museum. But into the future, I think we manage the situation in a way that people who still want to have that real experience can do so in a safe way.
PHILBIN: Can I add one more positive note I think that is the legacy of COVID-19? And I’m sure you’ve noticed the birds and the sky in Los Angeles. It’s a shocking statistic, but in only five or six weeks, LA has some of the cleanest air of any major city in the world. Our smog is gone. That’s an amazing realization, to know how quickly we can impact the environment. And so the notion of adopting some of these habits and policies. And I’m even thinking about that in terms of, do I let my staff stay home one day a week and not drive to work or not get on a bus? Because we can see, first of all, that we can do it. I think it’s going to change the way we structure our work environments, because there are greater goods to be had from the lessons that we’ve learned here, and implementing them on beyond the crisis.
CUNO: Yeah, I wake up to songbirds singing as they haven’t sung ever in Los Angeles. At least in my experience.
PHILBIN: Exactly.
CUNO: Well, you guys are such great leaders of institutions that we value so much, so thank you for giving us the time this morning on this podcast. And needless to say, stay safe and take care of your colleagues and students and staff and institutions.
PHILBIN: Thank you, Jim.
POTTS: Thanks, Jim.
CUNO: This episode was produced by Zoe Goldman, with audio production by Gideon Brower and mixing by Mike Dodge Weiskopf. Our theme music comes from the “The Dharma at Big Sur” composed by John Adams, for the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2003, and is licensed with permission from Hendon Music. Look for new episodes of Art and Ideas every other Wednesday, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast platforms. For photos, transcripts and more resources, visit or if you have a question, or an idea for an upcoming episode, write to us at Thanks for listening.

JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, President of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
ANN PHILBIN: The way I’ve been feeling about this whole thing is it’s like surfing. You try to ...

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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