Even during this time of social distancing, music continues to inspire us, so we’re looking back to a 2018 gathering at the Getty Villa, where DJs came together to celebrate art and music.
Inspired by their experience, they each created a Spotify playlist featuring a wide range of music genres. Check out their #GettyVillaRemix playlists below and read about how their art-filled day guided their song choices.
Mia Moretti @miamoretti
Playlist: The Rebirth of Venus
My playlist, “What to Listen to When…Reclaiming Love at the Getty Villa,” is set at the foot of a life-size marble statue of Venus emerging nude from her bath in the Basilica. The goddess of love commands the room with her beauty; she is the universal muse of all muses. But for whom is she musing?
The assumption that one’s love is for another, man or woman, is reclaimed here. As bell hooks wrote, “The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose”—carved in marble or a mere mortal—“is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must begin.” Inspired by bell hooks’s words, I’ve dedicated this playlist to Venus’s rebirth in marble, with our mortal quest for self-love becoming the new narrative commanding the room.
The inspiration for my playlist was the overall aesthetic of the Getty Villa. The colors and layout were rich and vibrant. It felt like a romantic foreign getaway. I put together a playlist of songs that I would love to hear if I was blessed to live in a space as beautiful as the Villa.
I included some jazz, new R&B, neo soul, and classic soul to create the same vibe I felt while exploring the space. I also mixed in songs like “Caligula” by Macy Gray and “Hercules” by Aaron Neville that reminded me of specific exhibits. Overall the experience was incredible; I drew a lot of inspiration and left feeling recharged.
Myles Hendrik @myleshendrik
For an artist, the Getty Villa is complete sensory overload. On the daily you smell sounds, hear colors, see new edges, but when you visit the Villa you’ve got no chance: the moment you enter the grounds, the beauty, the wonder, the sheer weight of it grabs you and doesn’t let go. Then you’re immersed in the art, the wonder.
The incredible nature of everything you’re trying to absorb, appreciate, learn washes over you like brand new notes, love songs, and hallelujahs. It’s where the Pacific meets the Mediterranean. Where the shadows set fire to romanticism, punk rock, the lion tamers, the skies baby blue still stretching fingers to the victory marches. It’s where Ennio Morricone meets Shuggie Otis.
My playlist selections owe as much to the Villa’s tones—its promises marbled and arching—as it does to its lyrical nuance and ability to transport my subconscious to faraway places like where the shoreline meets the deep imaginings.
DJ Daisy O’Dell @daisyodell
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” —Plato
The Getty Villa is singular in its perfect marriage of art and environment. Visiting is an immersive experience. You are transported by a museum as beautiful as the works that inhabit it. There is no shortage of inspiration in these tranquil surroundings. I could have collected songs about the blue of the pool reflecting a crystal clear California sky; how the quietude was broken only by the occasional chirping of a bird; or the serenity I found in a private niche by a mosaic fountain. But instead I opted to create a playlist inspired by the antiquities.
My Greco-Roman mythology song selections are almost comically literal: Television’s, Bjork’s, and Miles Davis’s celebration of Venus, Nick Cave’s heart-wrenching ode to Orpheus and his lyre, and Cream’s psychedelic take on the story of Ulysses.
Addendum: I had the most visceral response to Plato In L.A. Through sculptures, paintings, drawings, and large-scale installations some of my favorite contemporary artists respond to Plato’s philosophical contributions—from defining the ideal to understanding the human condition—while fostering the ultimate Platonic experience: contemplation. This collaboration feels similar to what I was asked to do at the Getty Villa, and like the Art Brut track on my playlist says, “Modern art makes me want to rock out!” Enjoy!
DJ Michelle Pesce @djmichellepesce
The Villa dei Papiri (“Villa of the Papyruses”), an ancient Roman seaside escape, was rediscovered in the 1750s. Architects looked closely at the partial excavation of this villa and at other ancient Roman houses in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae when planning the design of the Getty Villa in the 1970s.
When you walk into the Villa, you are transported. Breathe in your surroundings and add a dash of imagination, and suddenly you are in ancient Rome. There were two spaces at the Getty Villa where I had to literally catch my breath, and my playlist was inspired by both. In these spaces I felt nature, I felt strength, I felt feminism, I wanted to dance—and there was a touch of hedonism about it all.
First, the Inner Peristyle. This garden would have been the first open-air space encountered by guests—just as it is for visitors to the Getty Villa. There are four female statues around a rectangular water fountain. They are posing in a way that all I could think was, “dance party”! In starting my playlist (with songs such as “Weight in Gold” by Gallant and “Stop Trying to Be God” by Travis Scott), I’m envisioning guests arriving as the sun starts to set. You enjoy a cup of calda or mulsum (aka wine) and the day’s stress starts melting away.
Second, the Basilica. Here there are seven imperfectly perfect female statues lined up. I felt their strength. I felt their wisdom. I felt their femininity. Here I brought in songs such as “Lost Souls” by H.E.R., “What I Am” by Edie Brickell, and “You’re so Gangsta” by Chromeo. I imagine philosophizing, networking, and feasting. After a while, guests make their way back downstairs to the Inner Peristyle for a dance party under the stars with the dancing statutes. I then end my playlist with “Glory Box” by Portishead and “Blackbird” by the Beatles as the sun comes up and the vibe chills out and guests leave to start a new day with fond memories from the Villa dei Papiri…I mean, the Getty Villa.
DJ Eque @djeque
My beautiful day at the Getty Villa with my fellow DJs was amazing. It started with the garden outside with bronze statues and the longest reflecting pool I have ever seen. The architecture of the floors, walls, and ceilings was also a sight to see.
The first floor featured rooms displaying Greek art from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. The second floor displayed sculptures, jewelry, glassware, mummy portraits, and many other works of art from the Roman Empire. My favorite contemporary artwork was Play-Doh (1994–2014) by Jeff Koons. My playlist is music I would play on my phone while taking in the surrounding culture.
Kitty Cash @kittycash
This playlist was inspired by the moments of introspection and reflection where one is coerced into contemplation. The moments when we allow ourselves to enter the “space of truth,” also known as the realm of eidos.
This concept was presented on the Getty Villa’s top floor in a section of the Plato exhibition titled “Contemplating the Ideal,” where artists Rachel Harrison and Jeff Koons give their contemporary takes on Platonic contemplation and viewers can find parallels between traditional and modern takes on the ideal. This playlist sets the tone and creates a safe space to contemplate and begin your own explorative journey of the ideal.
My playlist is a compilation of old and new songs that reflect different moods and vibes inspired by the Getty Villa’s collection of art and relics inside, and architecture, gardens, and fountains outside. I found inspiration listening to music from ancient Greece and picked songs that feel like modern renditions, with similar timbre and instruments.
The sequence of the music mirrors my experience walking through the museum. For the beginning, I selected songs that express the opulence of the environment. Moving inward, the music takes a more mellow tone that reflects the peacefulness I felt in the gardens and Inner Peristyle. It ends with West Coast nods to luxurious lifestyles and lavish parties, along with song references to individual works in the modern art exhibition.
DJ Spider @djspider
Visiting the Getty Villa was a special experience for me because I grew up so close to the museum but had never been inside. I remember driving by as a kid—on my way to go hiking or to the beach—and wondering what was up there. The place itself is unbelievably beautiful, and some of the art is so old it’s hard to comprehend. Along with the juxtaposition of the modern pieces, being there takes you to a different world and makes you feel as if you are in another time.
My playlist is a mix of wordplay about art-related things and an expression of the vibe I felt while roaming the grounds, talking to the curators, connecting with the other DJs, and taking in the art. It starts with a song by Mura Masa, which I feel connects to some of the oldest pieces of art at the Villa that represent musicians playing harps and similar instruments. This track is a good starting point for the rest of the playlist to follow. Each track represents something special and unique from that day, and the songs come together to paint a full picture of my experience.
The Getty Villa Remix experience was a real treat. I was taken out of my element in my own city and introduced to so much Greek and Roman history! It was crazy to observe how the eyes on the statues looked so real.
There was so much depth and detail in the sculptures. My #GettyVillaRemix playlist is eclectic just like the Getty Villa exhibits—Greco-Roman art mixed with contemporary works from Plato In L.A.
The art and songs are multifaceted but complement each other.
Photos by Sarah Waldorf