The Iris is a reference to the Getty Museum’s best-known painting: Irises by Vincent van Gogh. That painting is surrounded by knots of visitors most of the time; it’s behind glass because so many people want to reach out and touch it.
In addition, the Iris can evoke the flowers in the Getty’s gardens at both the Villa and the Center. But an iris is also part of the eye, and part of a camera lens. It’s how we focus, how we see. And critical seeing is at the heart of the Getty’s mission.
The name was suggested by Annie Combs-Brookes, events specialist at the Museum. She was one of nearly 100 Getty employees and volunteers who sent in more than 300 ideas for blog names. We were delighted by the creativity of the entries—and by the common threads that emerged.
Nine different people suggested some version of “Getty Up.” Two people came up with some variant of J. Blog Getty. There were many uses of the word “get”—as in Get This, Get Art, Get your Getty On. I was personally fond of Watching Paint Dry, submitted by a Getty Conservation Institute scientist who presumably did just that as part of his research. And we all really liked our second-place candidate, Verso, submitted by Lillian Wilson, imaging technician at the Museum, for its reference to views from the other side.
But ultimately the group of people from across the Getty that has come together to mount this blog chose The Iris: Views from the Getty. We’ll be using the Iris to launch a conversation with our readers about the fascinating work that goes on every day at both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa, and by Getty staff, scholars, and grantees around the world. We hope to make the Getty’s vast resources of art and expertise more accessible and to engage our readers on the issues we’re passionate about: the visual arts in all their dimensions, the furthering of knowledge, the preservation of our artistic heritage, and our community—both here in Los Angeles and the larger international arts community that we serve.
We hope you’ll join us.