Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Artwork in three dimensions and a variety of media, from ancient bronzes to Neoclassical marbles; plus furniture, porcelain, paneled rooms, and other decorative objects of great artistry

Also posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum

Physiognomy, The Beautiful Pseudoscience

Untitled / Ken Gonzales-Day

What do the expressions “highbrow” and “lowbrow” have in common with saying a woman has “mousey” features? What does Homer Simpson have to do with photographs of sculpture in profile by contemporary artist Ken Gonzales-Day? All are contemporary manifestations of… More»

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Also posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Victims of Soicumstance: My Automatic Visual Reactions to Messerschmidt

Untitled (Big Man) / Ron Mueck

A room full of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s Character Heads—currently at the Getty Center as part of the exhibition Messerschmidt and Modernity—may be the best place in L.A. right now to observe neurobiological reactions to human expression. The heads are not… More»

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Also posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Conservation

Waxing and Waning of Summer in Decorative Arts & Sculpture Conservation

Applying a protective wax coating to Jack Zajac's Big Skull and Horn in Two Parts II

Every Monday—when the Museum is closed to visitors and Getty staff soldier on despite the closure of the coffee carts—the Getty’s outdoor sculptures get washed and rinsed of the week’s helping of dirt, pollution, bird guano, and spider webs. This… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum

18th-Century Art for the 21st-Century Classroom

Participants at the Getty Museum's Art and Language Arts alumni event - August 11, 2012

Students are often lectured at, asked to receive information and not question what is being said. As a college student, I’ve experienced this first-hand. This summer, I got to explore more creative approaches to learning as part of the team… More»

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Also posted in Education, J. Paul Getty Museum

A Strange and Wonderful Vase at Family Art Lab

Vase - detail of cast-bronze snails / Jean-Desire Ringel d’Illzach

This summer I’ve been helping to facilitate Family Art Lab, a weekend program at the Getty Center that combines a gallery exploration with hands-on art making in the Museum Courtyard. Through September 2, we’re offering a two-part experience centered around… More»

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Also posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa

Installing “Lion Attacking a Horse” at the Getty Villa

Lionsculpture_lg
Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale—Musei Capitolini

The massive sculpture of a Lion Attacking a Horse hasn’t left Rome in over 2,000 years, but it feels right at home sitting in the Atrium of the Getty Villa. The giant marble, on loan through January 2013 as part… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Curator’s Diary: Installing “Messerschmidt and Modernity”

Alabaster busts by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt in Messerschmidt and Modernity at the Getty Center

No amount of preparation over the life of an exhibition–from conception to development through implementation and finally installation–prepares you for the moments of surprise and delight as objects arrive from lenders and are uncrated and placed in the galleries. The… More»

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Also posted in Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum

The Case of the Broken Wax Banana

Untitled with broken peel / Robert Graham

This is the third in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. Robert Graham’s sculpture Untitled came to the Museum last October for Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture 1950-1970. It’s a small wax banana resting… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum

Looking Under Judy Chicago’s Car Hood

The back (wall) side of Judy Chicago's Car Hood

This is the second in a series of conservators’ reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. In 1964 Judy Chicago created this wall-mounted sculpture, Car Hood, from a steel car hood and traditional automotive paint. The work was on loan… More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation

Art with an On-Off Switch: Restoring Stephan von Heune’s Tap Dancer

Tap Dancer by Stephan van Huene, with base panels removed to reveal components inside base

This is the first in a series of conservator’s reflections on artworks in Pacific Standard Time. Stephan van Huene is recognized for his acoustical sculptures—which he called “machines”—that combine movement and sound. With the flip of a switch, the sculpture… More»

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      All Hail Tiberius, Least Media-Savvy of the Roman Emperors

      Tiberius was proclaimed Roman emperor on September 17 in AD 14, exactly 2,000 years ago.

      He was also a bit wacko. “He was the least media-savvy emperor you could imagine,” says curator David Saunders, who has been in charge of this bronze portrait of Tiberius which leaves us on September 22. He point to this description found in the writings of Cassius Dio:

      Tiberius was a patrician of good education, but he had a most peculiar nature. He never let what he desired appear in his conversation, and what he said he wanted he usually did not desire at all. On the contrary, his words indicated the exact opposite of his real purpose; he denied all interest in what he longed for, and urged the claims of what he hated. He would exhibit anger over matters that were far from arousing his wrath, and make a show of affability where he was most vexed…In short, he thought it bad policy for the sovereign to reveal his thoughts; this was often the cause, he said, of great failures, whereas by the opposite course, far more and greater successes were attained.

      Moreover, David tells us, “Tiberius’s accession itself was a farrago: Tiberius sort-of feigning reluctance, the Senate bullying him, he being all, ‘Well, if-I-have-to,’ and in the end—according to Suetonius—saying he’ll do it as long as he can retire.”

      Suetonius is full of great, albeit spurious, anecdotes about poor old Tiberius, David reports. “When someone addressed him as ‘My Lord,’ it is said, Tiberius gave warning that no such insult should ever again be thrown at him.”

      Happy accession, My Lord!

      Portrait Head of Tiberius (“The Lansdowne Tiberius”), early 1st century A.D., Roman. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      Statue of Tiberius (detail), Roman, A.D. 37, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei – Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Laboratorio di Conservazione e Restauro. Currently on view at the Getty Villa following conservation and study.

      09/17/14

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