Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Trust

The Museum of Hidden Talents

Stiltwalking at the Getty Underground opening

Jasby Williams stiltwalks in an outfit inspired by this year’s theme: steampunk

One of the coolest parts about working at the Getty is discovering the many artistic talents of your coworkers—the curator who bakes professional-quality wedding cakes, the project manager who hulas, the software engineer who writes environmental poetry. Everyone is just so ridiculously interesting.

Every two years we Getty employees, docents, and volunteers let our talents—however questionable—loose for Getty Underground, our staff art extravaganza-slash-talent show. Last night at the opening, all kinds of art broke out, from the baroque (classical guitar) to the bonkers (stiltwalking). Also on tap were live rock, a photo booth with handmade steampunk-inspired props, and of course the art show, nestled deep underground in one of the Getty Center’s many byzantine corridors.

There were oil paintings, drawings, and photographs from professional artists who work here, but also sculptures (a pegagus of recycled produce twist ties), collages (George Washington’s head on Johnny Ramone’s body, atop sandpaper), videos (a chimpanzee and a woman enacting the same apelike behaviors). Upstairs, staff and their friends and families painted-by-numbers on a giant van Gogh’s Irises while a flash mob did the macarena and the electric slide.

Bake table and paint-by-numbers at the Getty Underground opening reception

Complementing the festivities was a menu of popcorn, hot dogs, ice cream, and beer, plus a ginormous table of baked goodies from our foodie colleagues. People who work at a museum can’t bake a boring cookie—whether crow-shaped black crisps encased in lace or bacon-topped cupcakes, there was something for everyone.

Sugar cookies shaped and decorated with icing to look like artists' palettes

Just like any other day at the museum.

Getty Underground isn’t open to the public, but we wanted to share it with you anyway. Below are just a few of the many creative projects we’ll be talking about in the corridors through the end of summer.

Clean Travel by Kathy Dunlop

Clean Travel by Kathy Dunlop, mixed media (travel soaps and wood)

<em>Emily Brontë Quote</em>, Hilary Walter, needlework and collage

Emily Brontë Quote by Hilary Walter, needlework and collage

<em>Dr. Mack</em> by Zhenya Gershman, oil on canvas

Dr. Mack by Zhenya Gershman, oil on canvas and plexiglas

<em>Ninox Oculi</em> (<em>Eye of the Owl</em>), Cristian Grunca, copper and mixed media. A functional night-vision device using infrared light and sensors, as worn by the artist

Ninox Oculi (Eye of the Owl) by Cristian Grunca, copper and mixed media. A functional night-vision device using infrared light and sensors, as worn by the artist

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  1. Gina Lee
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed reading this entry.
    Your staff is very talented!

  2. freida
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Amazing collage. I wish I could have been there in person to enjoy the event !!!!!

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      Color for Healing

      This sanitorium (tuberculosis hospital) in Paimio, Finland, was designed by architect Alvar Aalto in the 1920s. Unlike many hospitals, it was full of bright colors—including welcoming yellow on the main stairs and calming green for ceilings above bedridden patients. Aalto even created special chairs to open the chest and speed healing.

      The building’s colors were mostly whitewashed later in the 20th century, but now—due to a grant from the Getty Foundation as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative—its colors are being reconstructed and the building preserved for the future.

      More of the story: Saving Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Sanitorium

      Pictured: Paimio Sanatorium, patients’ wing and solarium terraces. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Museum. A color model for Paimio Sanatorium interiors by decorative artist Eino Kauria. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Museum, 2016.Paimio chairs (Artek no 41) in the Paimio Sanatorium lecture room, 1930s. Photo: Gustaf Welin, Alvar Aalto Museum. Aino Aalto resting in a chair on the solarium terrace. Photo: Alvar Aalto, Alvar Aalto Museum, 1930s. Main stairs of Paimio Sanatorium. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Museum.


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