African American Art History at the Getty Research Institute

One of the many outcomes of the civil rights movement of the 1960s was the start of serious academic study of art of the African diaspora, including by African American artists. The Getty Research Institute has launched an initiative committed to collecting materials related to this field, beginning with plans to acquire the Betye Saar archive in fall 2018. And in summer 2019 Getty worked alongside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the MacArthur, Ford, and Mellon foundations to acquire the archives of the Johnson Publishing Company, including more than 4.8 million images from Ebony and Jet magazines.

In this episode, LeRonn Brooks, associate curator at the Getty Research Institute, and Kellie Jones, Columbia University professor and senior consultant on the Getty’s initiative, discuss the evolution of the study of art by African Americans and other artists of the African diaspora, the urgency of preserving critical archival materials, and their plans for the future of the initiative.

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A Half-Century of Prints with Sidney Felsen of Gemini GEL

In 1966, at the age of forty-one, Sidney Felsen moved from the world of accounting to that of art, founding the artists’ workshop and fine-art print publisher Gemini GEL in Los Angeles. With Gemini GEL, Sidney quickly got to work with some of the biggest artists of the twentieth century: Man Ray, Josef Albers, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, to name a few. And Gemini GEL continues its work with new generations of artists, including Julie Mehretu, Tacita Dean, and David Hammons.

In this episode, Felsen talks about how Gemini GEL got started and grew into the organization it is today, sharing stories about the artists he’s worked with along the way.

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Understanding the Medieval World through Books

What was the world like from 500 to 1500 CE? This period, often called medieval or the Middle Ages in European history, saw the rise and fall of empires and the expansion of cross-cultural exchange. Getty curator Bryan C. Keene argues that illuminated manuscripts and decorated texts from Africa, Asia, Australasia, the Americas, and Europe are windows through which we can view the interconnected history of humanity. In this episode, he discusses his recent book Toward a Global Middle Ages: Encountering the World through Illuminated Manuscripts, highlighting the challenges and opportunities of the emerging discipline known as the Global Middle Ages.

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The Philanthropy Philosophy of Getty Foundation Director Joan Weinstein

Since its inception, Getty has recognized philanthropy in the arts as vital to its mission, with the Foundation as one of its four main programs, alongside the Museum, Research Institute, and Conservation Institute. From its early grants to other LA institutions to its robust, strategic, international grantmaking program today, the work of the Getty Foundation has grown and evolved since it began in 1985.

In this episode, Foundation director Joan Weinstein discusses how the philosophy behind the Foundation’s grants has shifted alongside changes in the field, how it impacts art and art history around the globe, and what she anticipates for its future.

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A Global Story with Getty Museum Director Tim Potts

From his childhood in Australia spent reading about the ancient world to his current role as director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Tim Potts has always thought globally. Potts’s broad experiences as a PhD student at Oxford, banker at Lehman Brothers, and director at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia, Fitzwilliam in England, and Kimbell in Texas have shaped his approach to the Getty’s collections and programs.

In this episode, Potts discusses how he came to the museum and how the institution is using its largely European art collection to engage in discussions of international exchange from the ancient world through today.

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Collecting Käthe Kollwitz with Dr. Richard Simms

Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) was a prolific printmaker whose work explored painful themes such as hunger, poverty, and death. To achieve her powerful results, she employed a wide range of printing techniques and created numerous drawings and working proofs as part of her process. A new exhibition at the Getty Research Institute, Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics, showcases her working methods through pieces donated as a partial gift in 2016 by Dr. Richard. A. Simms. 

Simms, born in New Orleans 1926 and a dentist and orthodontist by trade, is a dedicated collector of prints and drawings who came to Kollwitz’s work by chance. The Dr. Richard A. Simms Collection at the GRI contains more than 650 nineteenth- and twentieth-century works by Kollwitz.

In this episode, Dr. Simms discusses his unusual path to becoming a collector and the appeal of Kollwitz’s art. Getty Research Institute exhibitions coordinator Christa Aube, who co-curated the exhibition with Louis Marchesano and Naoko Takahatake, joins the conversation to lend insight into Kollwitz’s working methods.

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Responding to Disaster: The Getty Fire

Southern California has always faced wildfires, but in recent years the threat has grown. Both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa are situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounded by brushland, making them particularly vulnerable to the increased fire risk. In October 2019, the eponymous “Getty Fire” roared through the Santa Monicas near the Getty Center for days. But the Getty staff were prepared for just such a situation.

In this episode, we hear about the preparation for and response to the Getty Fire from Getty’s director of security Bob Combs; director of facilities Mike Rogers; vice president of communications Lisa Lapin; and chief financial officer and chief operating officer Steve Olsen.

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True Grit: The American City in Early 20th-Century Prints

At the start of the twentieth century, American printmakers portrayed the modernizing world around them, from towering skyscrapers and deserted city streets to jazzy dance halls and boisterous movie theaters. Many of these printmakers were recent immigrants to the United States, and many were women—that these groups in particular could make careers as artists is indicative of the immense social changes of this period.

In this episode, Getty curator of drawings Stephanie Schrader and the Huntington Art Museum’s Bradford and Christine Mishler Associate Curator of American Art, James Glisson, explore this topic as they walk through their exhibition True Grit: American Prints from 1900 to 1950.

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Manet and Modern Beauty: The Late Career of the Painter

French painter Édouard Manet is perhaps best known for his large scale paintings like Olympia and Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, both of which stoked controversy when they were first displayed. But in later life, with his health deteriorating, the artist shifted his focus to luscious still lifes, delicate pastels and watercolors, and portraits of social types like the parisienne or the dandy.

The exhibition Manet and Modern Beauty focuses on this often overlooked period of Manet’s career, from the late 1870s through his early death in 1883. In this episode, curators Emily Beeny and Scott Allan discuss key works from the exhibition and what they teach us about modernity and Manet.

The Lives of Titian

One of the most successful artists of the Italian Renaissance, Titian was the master of the sixteenth-century Venetian school and admired by his royal patrons and fellow artists alike. Several of his contemporaries, including the authors and art theorists Giorgio Vasari, Francesco Priscianese, Pietro Aretino, and Ludovico Dolce, wrote accounts of Titian’s life and work.

In this episode, Getty assistant curator of paintings Laura Llewellyn discusses what these “lives” teach us about Titian and the artistic debates and rivalries of his time. All of these biographies are gathered together in Lives of Titian, recently published by the Getty as part of our Lives of the Artists series.