About: Susan Edwards

I am a writer and editor for the Web Group at the J. Paul Getty Trust. In a previous life I studied American art and the history of photography; in this life I am studying for a master's in library and information science. In my free time (what little I have), I like to travel to places like Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia, take pictures, sew, make ice cream, and study Chinese.

Posts by Susan

Posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Museum

#GettyJam Report—12 Museum Games Created in 30 Hours

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USC students pull al-nighters at the museum to create art games. More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum

#GettyJam—The Museum as Game Space

Press Start! Getty Game Jam / Edouard Manet's Spring

USC students turn the Getty into a game lab this weekend. More»

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

Project Switch: A Small Game Experiment Yields Big Lessons

Switch is a new in-gallery mobile game at the Getty Center.
Switch game screen

Earlier this year, I worked on an experimental project to create a simple game that would be played in the galleries with a mobile phone (find the game here). The idea came from my colleague Rebecca Edwards (no relation), a… More»

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Posted in Getty Research Institute, Paintings

Vitaly Komar: Exploring the Lines Between Us

Where is the Line Between Us?, Komad and Melamid, and Douglas Davis

Komar and Melamid created canvases to represent the most wanted (and unwanted) visual imagery for different countries. The results were telling, and hilarious. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, Scholarship

Creating an Online Collaboration Tool for Scholars

Digital Mellini screenshot

Last month, I gave a presentation with my colleague Tina Shah at the annual Museum Computer Network (MCN) conference in Atlanta about an online collaboration tool for scholars that several of us in the Web group at the Getty have… More»

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Posted in Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute

T-Minus 30 Days to Citywide Performance Art Festival

Three Weeks in May / Suzanne Lacy

The Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival opens on January 19. For 11 days, artists will be activating public spaces across the city with a variety of performances and public art. From Pomona to Santa Monica beach, these… More»

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Posted in Getty Center

Getty Center Entrance Getting a Makeover

Architect's rendering of the new Getty Center entrance, coming fall 2014
Architect's rendering of the new Getty Center entrance, coming fall 2014

Fall 2014 marks the opening of a new Getty Center entrance, with easier access to bus and car parking and an improved drop-off area. More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Center, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum

Countdown to Pacific Standard Time

Ablutions performance at Guy Dill’s studio
Ablutions performance at Guy Dill’s studio, with Judy Chicago, Suzanne Lacy, Sandra Orgel, and Aviva Rahmani (Sponsored by Feminist Art Program at CalArts), 1972. The Getty Research Institute, Gift of Art in the Public Interest and 18th Street Arts Center, 2006.M.8.42. Photo courtesy Lloyd Hamrol

This morning we launched a new website dedicated to Los Angeles art from 1945 to 1980. Here you can get acquainted with Pacific Standard Time, the region-wide collaborative project that will tell the story of the L.A. art scene and… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings, Photographs, Film, and Video

Rethinking Orientalism, Again

Les Femmes du Maroc: Revisited #1, Lalla Essaydi, 2009, chromogenic print. Image courtesy the artist

It’s been 27 years since art historian Linda Nochlin published her essay “The Imaginary Orient,” a critique of sexist and racist depictions of “brown and black folk” by Western artists such as Jean-Léon Gérôme. Back then, “I was put off… More»

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Posted in Photographs, Film, and Video

I Have a Dream

New York City from Black and White in America Leonard Freed, 1963.  © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos, Inc.

One night when I was 10, I sat down to do some homework, reading a speech in my history book. It was just another day, just another assignment. But as I read this speech, I became confused and angry. Every… 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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