Monthly Archives: May 2011

Posted in Ancient World, Getty Villa

Uncorking the Secrets to Ancient Cocktails

Patrick McGovern in his lab, sniffing out an ancient brew

Update—We’ve posted video excerpts from Patrick McGovern’s talk. See below for his discussion of Midas Touch, here for Chateau Jiahu, and here for Theobroma. What ancient brews were served at the funeral feast of King Midas, or his father Gordius,… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Center

VA to the Getty, by Way of the Shuttle

Carrie Brandlin with the mision statement of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

In 2007 the Getty Security department was approached by the VA (Veterans Affairs) to see if we could arrange a visit to the Getty Center for some of the veterans at their facility off Sepulveda Boulevard at Constitution Avenue. Of… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations

¡Sí Cuba! SoCal

title, Alex Harris

What is “¡Sí Cuba! SoCal,” you ask? Well, it all started in New York this spring with a multi-venue festival celebrating Cuban culture, called ¡Sí Cuba!. Then, coincidentally, several cultural institutions across Southern California, including we here at the Getty,… More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes

Why? Because the Pig in the Painting Said So!

Me, giving a sculpture a gorilla hug in the 1970s

As a kid I was sure if I could be alone with works or art, in or out of museums—ditch the parents, teachers, and guards—that the works of art would talk to me. I assessed hiding places, considered alarm systems…. More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Paris Gamblers: Gaming in 18th-Century France

Interior with Card Players, Pierre-Louis Dumesnil, about 1752. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Harry G. Sperling, 1971 (1976.100.8) TMS Creditline Repro: 	   	Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, NY

Players of backgammon, bridge, and bingo might feel a keen camaraderie with the prosperous Parisians of the 1700s whose sumptuous world is brought to life in the current exhibition Paris: Life & Luxury. The well-coiffed elite of the time relished… More»

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Posted in Art, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Question of the Week: How Have You Been Called to Charity?

The Vision of Saint Francis of Paola, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, about 1670. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003.144

Have you been called to acts of service? Did you answer the call? Saint Francis of Paola, who lived in the 1400s, was called. Two moments of divine intercession are paired in The Vision of Saint Francis of Paola by… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute

All Roads Lead to Rome

The Roman Forum

What brings a group of architects, conservators, engineers, geologists, scientists, and archaeologists from twenty countries and six continents to Rome? Rocks—or more accurately, stone. They have all come to participate in the 17th International Course on Stone Conservation, which began… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Villa, Photographs, Film, and Video

Unpixelated: Luther Gerlach Makes Photographs Like It’s 1851

unpixelated

There are digital photographers. And then there’s Luther Gerlach. In the time it took you to read that last paragraph, you could have snapped six digital photos. It would take Luther half a day to make that many images—on a… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Education, Getty Villa, J. Paul Getty Museum

Homer’s “Iliad,” Told in 135 Voices

Karol Wight, Guy Wheatley, Claire Lyons, and Jay Kurtz at the podium for the daylong reading of Homer's Iliad at the Getty Villa

It was an unusual day at the Villa. People wandered about with numbers clipped to their lapels. Intense conversations took place about Homer’s poetry, fueled by coffee and snacks. Visitors moved in and out of the auditorium, as if in… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute, Scholarship

From Green Umber to Azurite, Walnut Oil to Egyptian Sandstone, Reference Collection Helps Scientists Analyze Art Data

The Getty Conservation Institute's Art Kaplan, examining mineral samples found in the Reference Collection.

Art Kaplan is on a mission. At my request, he’s looking for a particular yellow pigment to show me—and there are hundreds of yellows to choose from, in drawers labeled Yellow Ochre, Lemon Ochre, Golden Yellow, French Yellow, and labels… More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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