EDIT: Thanks to everyone for the great questions today! I will take a look at the remaining unanswered questions and will try my best to answer them over the next few days.

Hi, this is Jim Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. I'm pleased to try and answer your questions about the Getty, its museums in Los Angeles, and the work we do around the world to preserve and advance the understanding of the world's cultural heritage. (The Getty comprises four Programs: the J. Paul Getty Museum, Conservation Institute, Research Institute, and Foundation.)

I'm also happy to discuss the future of museums, especially encyclopedic museums. And of course there is the role advancing technology will continue to play in the research of art. I recently wrote an opinion for The Daily Dot on the value of working collaboratively in our increasingly connected world and the promise of digital technology to not only increase access to information but to change the very way we do research.

Then again, if we run out of things to talk about I'm very happy to talk about Boston Red Sox, my baseball team. It turns out that I arrived back in Los Angeles to find myself surrounded by former Sox players not playing for the Dodgers and the Angels. Seems the best of both worlds to me.

I'll be here from 9:30 to 11:30a.m. today, and look forward to your questions. For more information about the Getty and its programs, visit www.getty.edu. This AMA is also featured on The Iris,the Getty's blog.

Comments: 177 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

shawmanic35 karma

What do you see as the solution to the problem of questionable acquisition of art and museum oieces genreally? I remeber going to museums in London and in particular seeing the dead Sea Scrolls and being realy moved by seeing the actual thing itself. But then thinking, how did that get here?! Even when legally acquired, there is a moral dilmena, right? By the way, does your office have a piece of the view from the Getty campus? Probably the most beautiful view in LA!

JimCunoGetty56 karma

Thanks. These are very complicated questions. Museums adhere to the rule of law. They acquire works of art only after extensive research into their ownership history and export status (if the proposed works are to be imported) and authenticity (ie., close, physical analysis of the object is crucial). Of course, it's not always possible to have every bit of evidence one might want. Then the museum has to weigh the risks of acquisition (for every acquisition come with some financial and/or reputation risk. If evidence comes to light that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the museum doesn't have clear title to a particular work or art, the museum must relinquish it to the appropriate authorities. This is what the Getty did a few years ago. Evidence came to light that wasn't known before hand and the works of art in question were turned over to Italian and Greek authorities. That was the right thing to have done.

But you ask another question, about the "morality" of museums having works of art in their collection that were acquired legally in the past but that some people think should (and for a variety of reasons) be returned to the political jurisdiction in which they were either made or found. The Rosetta Stone or Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum might be two such examples.

I think it is wrong and even dangerous to rewrite history. Those objects were acquired legally (so far as we know), they have been cared for and studied by the museum for hundreds of years, and millions and millions of people see and enjoy them every year. And they see them in the context of representative examples of all of (or by far most of) the world's diverse artistic cultures. Of course the museum should be willing to loan them (and as offered to) other museums around the world. But I don't see a legal or moral claim against the museum's ownership of them. (And we should be clear: the museum only holds them in trust for the British nation. The British nation owns the works in question.)

Prufrock45127 karma

First, I want to say how impressed my family was when we visited the Getty. Shocked, frankly, that there was no admission fee for a collection of that quality. LOVED the interactive room for kids to make their own art.

Second, where do you think the balance is between a museum's responsibility to preserve and its responsibility to educate? Are there artifacts or works you treasure but don't have out on display?

JimCunoGetty26 karma

Thanks so much. Needless to say, I agree wholeheartedly with your first statement. The Getty is a beautiful, affordable place to visit. Its galleries and gardens reward every visitor.

The balance you mention is a delicate one. We have a responsibility to preserve works of art for public consumption long into the future. But the emphasis is on "public" consumption. Museums are not only for the professional. They throw open their doors for any- and everyone, regardless of experience or education. That's one of the most important things about museums. Unlike universities, they don't test people upon arrival or examine them on departure. They are open to everyone. Of course there are obstacles--some financial, some physical--but all things considered there are far fewer obstacles when seeking to attend a museum than almost any other kind of cultural or educational (even athletic or entertainment) institution. But there are times when the balance is tricky and so, for example, as light damages works of art on paper, they are not shown in museum galleries very often. I hope this answers your good questions.

JimCunoGetty21 karma

A few questions came in via Facebook and over the weekend, so here are some responses:

Louise P. from Facebook asks: "What did you accomplish by gutting your education department?"

Many thanks. I wouldn't characterize our moves as a "gutting" of the Department. In a real way, it was a restructuring. Previously we had only paid museum educators in the galleries. Necessarily, they could only "touch" a few of our visitors. By changing to a larger corps of "volunteer" educators in the galleries we increased the number of students we could "touch" (and by far most of them are Title I students) from 39,000 students to more than 120,000. Previously only 33% of our students enjoyed guided tours of our galleries. Now almost 100% do. So, our restructuring expanding our ability to address the needs of our visiting students.

We still have more than 30 professionals working in the department, including five gallery instructors. And we have almost 100 docents working in the galleries of our two museums and on-site at the Getty Center. Our eductional program is more robust than ever!

Joelle B. from Facebook asks: "Who was the 20 millionth visitor?"

Gosh. I don't know. It was impossible to say because of they way they access our sites. But no doubt some happy, curious, Getty-loving visitor was that 20 millionth visitor and he or she left with his or her life enhanced for having visited us. I only wish I knew who that person was so I could thanks. That said, everyone came that day got a cookie and participated in a drawing for prizes. It was a great day. Did you come?

User iHazFail99 asks: "What was your number one goal, that you had to get done as soon as possible after becoming President?"

Two goals: hire an excellent museum director (and I did) and deepen the collaborative culture of the Getty Trust (and WE did).

User dcaspy7 asks: "What is the J. Paul Trust?"

The Trust was established in 1983 to meet Mr. Getty's charge (which he directed us to do in his will) to promote the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge. It comprises four Programs: a Museum (on two sites; the Getty Center and Getty Villa), a Research Institute (fabulous library and gathering place for resident and visiting scholars), a Conservation Institute (dedicated to conservation research and training), and a Foundation (sponsoring art historical and conservation work around the world). In this respect, the Getty Trust is across between a museum and a specialized university.

Josh K. from Facebook asks: "What is the most expensive/interesting thing in your vault?"

Impossible to say. All our priceless from our point of view.

bbqturtle14 karma

Hello! Thanks for doing this AMA. I am a huge fan of the Getty, it is the most beautiful place I have ever been.

When I was there I noticed a seemingly inaccessible basement. How many floors (available to public or not) are there, and are there any funny stories about things that have happened in the basement?

JimCunoGetty23 karma

Gosh. I haven't heard any reports of funny things happening in the basement. Usually it's dead, serious stuff down there: professionals working hard, studying and taking care of works of art. It's not that they are humorless, just professional. What often happens in the basement--and as the Getty is on a hill--and has many as three and four floors below ground--is that new people get lost trying to find their way around. To my knowledge we haven't lost anyone yet. But just in case, we have mandatory roll call every day at the end of the day. And if someone's missing, no one can go home until he or she is found! (Just kidding.)

farquier10 karma

1) If you could design an exhibition and a wizard gave you infinity dollars and the ability to teleport artworks, what would you put on? 2) On a directly orthogonal note, a lot of discussion these days has questioned the value of blockbuster after blockbuster. While I agree that exhibitions can and do often have real scholarly value(Florence at The Dawn of the Renaissance being an excellent example), there is a risk of damage to artworks or the exhibitions being at the expense of attending to the permanent collection and studying/displaying it. How do you balance these responsibilities? Are there good ways to filter out sensible and less sensible uses of art? 3) What's your favorite thing in the Getty collection :).

JimCunoGetty16 karma

Wow! These are great, meaty questions. Let me start with the question of the "blockbuster" exhibition. I don't consider every highly attended exhibition a "blockbuster." I reserve that term for exhibitions devised to attract big crowds for some instrumental purpose (ie, revenue generation, political favors, etc.). Some of these are akin to popular entertainment. They may be necessary but they do put valuable works of art at risk and can stress the infrastructure of the museum. That said, some political exhibitions can be both wildly popular and very beautiful and rewards (like the National Gallery Washington's Ito Jakucho exhibition of a couple of years ago: breathtakingly beautiful, conceived as an agent of "soft power" exchange between the US and Japan, and one of the most highly visited exhibition in the Gallery's history). And of course some very important exhibitions can be highly popular - like the Met's Renaissance Tapestries exhibition of a few years ago or the National Gallery London's recent Leonardo exhibition. In the end, exhibitions should reward the visitor and contribute to our greater knowledge about their subjects. What exhibition would I do? Gosh, I can't say. But I would like it to be seen by people who don't typically go to such exhibitions and I would want it to change their lives in some meaningful way.

RedPotato9 karma

Thank you, Dr. Cuno for doing this AMA. For the most part, art history on reddit is an uphill battle. I read your daily dot article when it was published and as someone in the field, its great to see that the digital humanities being promoted from the top down and not just from Digital Media departments.

  1. Where do you think DH in museums is going in the future?

  2. What are your thoughts on the Lauder donation to the Met? Especially with your work on the Modern Wing of the AIC, and with the modern art housed at the Getty, do you think making NYC even more of a modern art mecca is a positive development? If you were in personal possession of those works, where would you have donated them? Furthermore, with or without restrictions (and if so, what restrictions would they be?)

Thank you!

JimCunoGetty6 karma

I think the DH are inevitable and will take the form of collaborative research, deep content-mining, questions that didn't come up in the analogue world (and answers to those questions), and ever more rapid developments in research and publication.

The Lauder donation is fantastic! The Met is one of the world's greatest museums and strengthening its modern holdings is important. Now people can walk from Duccio to Picasso in just a few minutes and then double back through Manet to David, Poussin, and El Greco and all of the other great examples of European painting in the museum. And then they can see African and Ancient works of art and reflect on their relationship to Picasso's paintings. And all along they will see works of art of the greatest importance and highest quality. This gift should only be celebrated. Mr. Lauder is doing something not just for New Yorkers but for the millions of people who come to the Met every year, now and forever. We are all in his debt!

bxknits8 karma

First, thank you for your excellent website. I have spent hours "at" the Getty, and treasure the ability to see the works, and especially the ability to zoom in on details of some of your wonderful manuscripts. This has really opened up a whole new world to me. If I ever get to LA, a visit to the Getty will be at the top of my "to do" list.

This is more a wish than a question. I would love to have some way of asking questions about the work that I see, sort of an "ask the curator online." I realize that this would probably not be practical from the museum's end, but a girl can dream....

JimCunoGetty11 karma

What a great idea. I know that we try to answer every question that comes in (I know because some such questions get directed to me). But you're asking for some other kind of interactive space on the site. Let me look into it. I'm enjoying this AMA and would be happy to encourage something like this on our own site. Thanks foir asking.

TheWinStore6 karma

What sort of protocols/infrastructure does the Getty have for protecting artwork in case a wildfire ever seriously threatens the complex?

Obviously this would be a very low-probability event, but I'm curious nonetheless.

JimCunoGetty5 karma

We have one of the most sophisticate fire protection systems of any cultural institution anywhere and have a very good relationship with the LA Fire Department. We are especially careful to clear dry brush on our surrounding hills. Thanks.

jbisinla6 karma

What's the deal with the ridiculous parking fees?

It's not like Getty doesn't have a sizeable bequest to keep things going, so if the goal was to make art more accessible, why is there a $15 per car parking fee? Doesn't that essentially defeat the purpose?

Also, is there decent bike parking there?

"It was my intent that the collections should be completely open to the public, free of all charges--be they for admission or even for parking automobiles." - J. Paul Getty

JimCunoGetty8 karma

While our endowment is substantial, it isn't sufficient to fund all that they Getty does for the greater public and the specialized professional community. Relying solely on the value of the endowment is dangerous. Witness the 2009 economic collapse. Over just a few months endowments lost as much as 25% of their value. We need to supplment our endowment paymout with earned revenue.

Our policy is simple and highly affordable: $15 per car (which can hold an entire family!) for not just one of our sites but for both--"Pay Once Park Twice"--and only $10 afer 5PM. For a family of 5, that's $3/person for admission to two museums. And of course, if one comes by public transportation--and many do--there's no admissions cost.

flambyisyou5 karma

Never been to LA, but the Getty is known worldwide, I hope one day I'll have the chance to visit...

  • Can you describe us a typically day?
  • What's your favorite exhibition?
  • Do you meet every artist?
  • Be honest... don't you miss the deep-dish pizza?

JimCunoGetty10 karma

The Getty is more than a museum. It's four programs: a museum (two sites: the Getty Villa with its ancient Mediterranean collections; and the Getty Museum with its collections of European works from art from the Medieval era to the 20th century--the Photography Department is wholly inclusive), a Research Institute with a vast library. a Conservation Institute that does research into the materials and conditions of works of art and our built heritage (it also trains conservators), and a Foundation that funds research and educational projects around thew world).

A typical day? A bunch of professional folks working hard in everyone of these four Programs and often across Programs, collaboratively. That said, the day begins for most people around 8:30 AM and concludes at 6.00 PM. For me, for example, I start by hitting the emails and responding to all that came in the night before. Then I have meetings (my job is mostly administrating through meetings). I try to get out and about the Getty to the four Programs every day, meet people and see what they are doing. Then I spend some time writing up memos and materials for various Board-related meetings. And then, time willing, I read and write for the lectures I give or the academic projects I try to continue to pursue. Often there are evening events (dinners, lectures, etc.)

My favorite exhibition? Impossible to identify just one. Can't do it. There are too many good ones. We live in the Golden Age of museum exhibitions.

I don't meet every artist, especially not every dead artist we present. But I do meet a lot of artists (all of them very much living). I think it's important for museums (even those like the Getty that don't typically present or collect contemporary art) to engage with living artists, if only to remind us that all of the art in our collections was once made by a living artist. Without artists, we'd be out of our jobs.

I'm not a pizza guy. More a cheese burger or BLT guy. And there are good burgers and BLTs here!

Salacious-5 karma

How are new exhibits created and how do you decide which pieces to feature in them?

JimCunoGetty10 karma

Exhibitions are organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute (the Getty Trust, of which I am President) also includes the Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Foundation). Such exhibitions are also proposed by the director of curators. They are discussed with the director with regard to their importance and feasibility. And typically they relate to some part of the Museum's or Research Institute's collections, either directly or because they are thought to complement the collections. The selection of works to be included in an exhibition is made by the exhibition curator. Of course, as many works of art are borrowed from other museums or private collections, exhibition curators don't always get everything they want for an exhibition. There are always compromises.

zapbranigan4 karma

what is the reasoning on cutting 34 jobs to save 4.3 million dollars when you gave yourself and other higher ups huge bonuses and raises?

2013 "compensations" http://www.getty.edu/about/governance/pdfs/13_compensationdisclosure.pdf


2012 "compensations" http://www.getty.edu/about/governance/pdfs/12_compensationdisclosure_feb.pdf

edit* you yourself got a $264,436.26 raise from last year. was $795,497.26 not enough to live by?

JimCunoGetty17 karma

Many thanks for these questions. Regarding you first one about the cut in jobs, that wasn't a costs cutting measure but a restructuring. Check out my answer above to a similar question.

As to executive pay increases, they appear larger than they actually were because of something called "retirement plan restoration payments" being made in December rather than January. This saved the Trust a lot of money in payroll taxes. In fact, executive salaries increased only between 3.25% and 3.75%. All Getty salaries, including executive compensation, are reviewed annually with comparable salaries at similar institutions. Executive compensation levels are measured against those at peer institutions are are reviewed by an independent consultant. We post our executive compensation and other financial information on our website in order to be open and transparent.

I hope this helps. Thanks again.

Kapacs3 karma

Do you think the Getty will ever bring the Portrait de l'artiste sous les traits d'un moqueur by Joseph Ducreux from the Louvre for an exhibition? I am dying to see that painting in real life.

JimCunoGetty4 karma

I don't know but it would look good with our Ducreux.

Tiako3 karma

Hello Mr. Cuno, I am a student of Roman archaeology and would like to ask you about the Getty Villa, which is one of the most interesting museums in the world because the museum itself is a fairly good reconstruction of a Roman villa and thus practically a museum piece itself. Do you ever feel any tension in the twin functions of the Villa--a reconstruction of a Roman structure and a very modern art museum (albeit one of classical and pre-classical art)--or do you think of the structure as just an enchanting background? To put it another way, what sorts of challenges and opportunities do you find in the form of the museum?

JimCunoGetty3 karma

Thanks so much. There are sometimes tradeoffs between the accuracy of the Villa's reconstruction of a Herculaneum vila and health and safety requirements of a modern, public building. But I think we've made those tradeoffs as invisible as possible. I think the experience of the Villa is terrific, both within the building and in its gardens.

Serekh3 karma


JimCunoGetty7 karma

The Getty is dedicated to preserving and presenting physical works of art. That said, we enhance them with digital information on-line and available in the galleries. We also digitizing the Museum's and Research Institute's collections. All of this said, I can imagine we will one day present born-digital works of art, if only because one of the Museum's most important departments is dedicated to the entire history of photography which already engages with the digital realm.

intentsman3 karma

How often do you catch people attempting to steal art?

JimCunoGetty5 karma

Fortunately, never.

DanDierdorf2 karma

Thank you for your time Dr. Cuno, would simply like to reiterate the praises given to your Trust in this thread.

The museum itself is an architectural gem. It's a wonderful thing the Getty's have given the world, quite a responsibility you have!

Does Getty Images belong to the trust and is it to be a large part of the digital future?


JimCunoGetty2 karma

Hi. The not-for-profit Getty Trust has no relationship to the for-profit Getty Images. As for its part in the future of the digital future, I'm not sure. I would think art-focused repositories like ARTstor will play a larger role.

nicknameminaj2 karma

Oh wow! I wish I could think of a question. Well I want to take this opportunity to say that I live pretty close to the Getty and the Villa and have been a few times. I still want to go more in the future.

Okay, cop-out question: which is your favorite art piece, EVER? okay, that's sort of difficult. What about in the Getty collection?

Also, which book do you recommend from the gift shop?

JimCunoGetty5 karma

My current favorite book in the bookstore is the catalogue for the current exhibition: "Overdrive." It's aboput the building of Los Angeles as a major world metropolis. Check it out.

fa532 karma

Do you see more interactivity with mobile devices in museums? Any examples of where it is working well now?

JimCunoGetty4 karma

Yes, I think we'll see more and more such interactivity. It's the age of democratization of the museum. Visitors have access to lost of information about the museum and works of art on view. They can make of their visit what they want. They can compile their own "files" of information on works of art they're interested in. Some of those files might be produced my the museum but others will be downloaded from the internet and integrated into a personalized "file drawer." The museum will remain an authoritative voice, only not the only voice in such matters (warning: there's junk out there; be careful of what you find on the net). I think such interactivity is working well at the Getty, the Met, the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA, and the Walker, and no doubt many more musuems in this country and elsewhere.

cornbreadseb2 karma

At what point do you think a work of art is worthy of being placed in a museum? As a follow up, what should be the relationship between museums and modern art?

JimCunoGetty1 karma

When, according to our professionals--curators and directors--all of whom have advanced degrees in a refined art historical speciality and who have substantial experience in making significant acquisitions--a work of art is worthy of entering our colection we present the proposal to our Board of Trustees.

With regard to modern and ocntemporary art, tastes change frequently and care should be taken before making expensive such acquisitions.

amorphid2 karma

You're mingling with people at a high society event and the conversation gets competitive. People start trying to impress each other by name dropping, talking about their charitable donations, etc. You say something that trumps all and wins the conversation. What did you say?

JimCunoGetty15 karma

How are your children?

exackerly2 karma

Do you have any plans to expand the Getty to locations outside of LA?

JimCunoGetty3 karma

They Getty works all over the world now. It's an important part of what we do. One or another of the Getty's four programs is active in Western China, Egypt, India, North Africa, Europe, and North and South America. We will continue to do this work and other important work wherever it needs to be done. But if you are asking about expanding our facilities by opening another facility somewhere outside LA, I don't see it. Two facilities are quite enough!

Drunken_Economist2 karma

If you didn't have to answer to anybody, what is one "pet project" that you'd have the the Getty work on?

JimCunoGetty10 karma

I'd like the Getty to find ways to encourage everyone to be curious about the world's artistic heritage and to want to preserve and share it for the world as the world's heritage, the common heritage of humanity.

Gay4Moleman2 karma

What would you say is the most overlooked exhibit, or something you wish got more attention?

JimCunoGetty3 karma

Do you mean at the Getty? Hard to say. Can't say. I'd very much like people to see things they've never seen or don't already know they like. I think that's an important responsibility of the museum. If museums continue to present exhibitions by artists or of historical periods they know their visitors already like (and "blockbuster" exhibitions are typically of such material) they are not living up to their responsibility as educational institutions. Museums shouldn't underestimate the intelligence or curiosity of their visitors. After all, their visitors are already invested their time and money in coming to the museum. Show them something new and different! As a friend of mine once said, museums should encourage people to leave the museum "at a different angle" than the one they entered with.

SufferableFool1 karma

Are there often conflicts between what may have immediate benefits for the Trust in terms of publicity, funding etc. vs. the institution's long-term goals? Is it difficult to balance the Getty's long term vision against events or exhibits that may generate short term interest but not be fully aligned with what the Getty aims to do?

JimCunoGetty2 karma

There are always trade-offs, if only because the Getty can do everything it wants to do. We set priorities and pursue them. And we always keep our long-term goals in mind with every decision we make.

Our long-term goals are those we've had since our founding: to make a significant, lasting difference in our domain (art museums, art history, conservation) and to do what needs to be done that isn't being/can't be done by anyone else.

Perceptes1 karma

Hi, Mr. Cuno. Thanks for doing this. My mom has worked for the GRI for several years now, and not long ago completed a degree in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins. In her program, while discussing the idea of how to keep the general public interested in visiting museums, they brought up the idea of museums of the future being sort of "cultural centers" where people go as regular parts of their day. The one specific example I remember is the idea of having childcare facilities in museums, so parents would drop their kids off, go to work for the day, stop by after work to pick their kids up and then visit some of the museum's exhibits before they leave. Is this sort of thing something you could imagine the Getty doing in the future? What sorts of things do you think will help make museums more important in people's daily lives?

JimCunoGetty2 karma

Thanks for this. And I'm thrilled your mother is working here and enjoys it. As for child care, we're in the business of trying to encourage children to come to the museum with their schoolmates (and teachers) and families. We think that this will not only facilitate their learning but will also mencourage lifelong relationships. We like the idea that museums can strengthen social relations among their visitors.

How can museums become more important to people's lives? Treat them with respect. Museums are public institutions. People come to them to have their lives enlarged. We should always remember that. We work for them. Not for ourselves.

RedPotato1 karma

Why would one want to limit a child's exposure to art? Should the child not see these things as well?

Also- JHU's program is AMAZING!

JimCunoGetty1 karma

I missed the question. I have no reason to lomit a child's expsure to works of art. In fact we have increased it year over year.

Perceptes1 karma

Perhaps I phrased that oddly, but the implication was that the kids would also be visiting the exhibits with the parents. The childcare facility would also do things at the museum, since it would be on the grounds.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

As I said, we want them to see wortks of art with their families and/or fellow students and teachers. I do't see this as in any way limiting.

RedPotato1 karma

Ohhhh, got it. There are museum day camps - for instance at the Newark Museum in NJ.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

We have great Family Festivals. Just had one over the weekend. Check them out. They're fab.

pamplemousser1 karma


First of all, I just want to say that I've been going to the Getty Museum and the Getty Villa since I was a little, and they're a huge reason that I love going to museums to this day. Both places are absolute treasures for Los Angeles.

Anyway, the Getty Museum has a great children's exhibit that encourages kids to draw and touch (Illuminated manuscripts, French Rococo-style bed), something museums don't normally want kids to do. What was the inspiration behind this?

JimCunoGetty1 karma

I don't relaly know. But I'm sure it was our Education Department. They do great work and I agree with you about the drawing gallery. The work there--and the kids' pride in it--is excellent.

haysomk1 karma

Mr. Cuno, thank you for taking the time today! Does the Getty hire public history graduate students?

JimCunoGetty2 karma

We hire smart, hard workign people. They come from many backgrounds.

demosthenes831 karma

What exhibits this year are you particularly proud of/excited for?

How do you ensure that your facilities and programs are going to be around for future generations to enjoy?

JimCunoGetty2 karma

The "Dawn of the Renaissance" exhibition was a beutiful and very important exhibition. So too are the current "Overdrive" and "Sicily" exhibitions. They are very different one from another but they are first rate.

As to your second question, we invest our money wisely, budget intelligently, and maintain our facilities regularly.

Oaklandia1 karma

Does the Getty have any plans to work on issues of intangible cultural heritage as well as their more traditional conservation research/initiatives?

JimCunoGetty1 karma

We are entrusted with working tangible works of art. The only intangible things we work with are ideas. And we work alot with them.

andkart1 karma

What is your opinion for the repatriation of significant pieces of art to their place of origin? Or providing such loans for specific period of time to the birth place of artifacts for exhibition purposes?

JimCunoGetty1 karma

My opinion is that works of art are made by people not places. They don't have meaning only in the places where they were made. They should be shared with the world. Museums should respect the law, even while voicing an opposition to the principles of the law. And they should loan works of art as generously as physically possible.

I have a big problem anthropormophizing works of art (as if they were living creatures or plants). Romanticizing them as having a homeland, as belonging to a place just because they were made there, as if they were the inheritance of a political entity, all of these things use works of art to perpetuate a polticized view of the world and an essentialized view of identity as pure and fixed. The latter results in an ideology of essentialized differences and inevitable cultural conflict. Works of art have never known political borders.

parvuspasser1 karma

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.

1) You have worked for a number of well-known institutions throughout your career. Do you have an interesting story or anecdote you can share publicly about working in a museum?

2) What do you enjoy the most about your position as President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust? Conversely, what do you find the most difficult about the position? Is it more or less limiting than being a director of an institution?

3) For fun: if you could pick any Boston Red Sox players (past and present) for a dream team to play in a once-in-a-lifetime ultimate World Series, who would you pick?

Again, thanks for holding this IAMA. I have a background in museum studies and art history so it's a treat to ask you a few questions. I had one of the Getty's curatorial assistants when she was a teaching assistant at my university ages ago, and I was a graduate student during the time one of my professors was finishing up Imagining the Past. I hope one day to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum if I ever get the chance to visit LA.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

I have been both a professor and a public museum administrator. I valued both experiences. Each has been a teaching (and learning) experience.

I love my new job for the ability it offers me to learn new things about the world. The Getty works all around the world, with individuals and governments. It is not always easy but it is always instructive.

You know I love the Red Sox. That would have to include Ted Williams, Carl Yaztremshi, Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez, El Tiante, and Big Papi....I running out of time. Gotta go. Go Sox! (And Pedroia, Buccholz, and Lester!!!!)

glych1 karma

While I appreciate that the Getty Center and Trust likes to adhere to Getty's personal tastes, I feel it's disrespectful to ignore the great works of American Art. Does the company have any plans in the future of taking works from artists born here and displaying them? I'm thinking the Hudson school would be a good start. Thank you for your time.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

Thanks so much. We have limited space and budgets and believe it makes better sense, within the context oif greater Los Angeles and its various museums, to continue our focused concentration on our current collections. That said, we have magnificent photographs by American photographers, from the earliest days to the present. And we currently have up an exhibition of pgotographs by the American artist Ed Ruscha.

deejay_11 karma

I love the architecture and surrounding area of your museum(s). What is your favorite exhibit? What would you recommend someone to see on their first visit?

JimCunoGetty1 karma

I would emphasize the permanent collection galleries and the gardens. At both sites, the gardens and the collextions are fabulous.

alvinaolivuer1 karma

Thank you for hosting this reddit. I was wondering if the Getty Museum has developed any programs or actions to broaden his audience and reach the people that are the less likely to attend an exhibition. If yes, what are those programs and how do they concretely try to achieve this education and outreach goal?

JimCunoGetty2 karma

We work closely with Title I schools and we reach out to underserved populati8ons through our Communications effort. Our goal is to have every interested person feel welcomed at the Getty.

thisnameblows1 karma


JimCunoGetty1 karma

Too many options to select just one.

terribleperson11 karma

How can the Getty bring more artists into the museum? And does it want to? What is the role of the living, practicing contemporary artist at the Getty? (I ask because I see the Getty as a site for cultural exchange and for preservation)

What is the future like for museum and arts institution collaboration? I think the collab with Machine Project for PSTP is great, allowing a contemporary twist on historic material from the near-past. How will the Getty adapt its model for exchange? Will it?

Thank you!

JimCunoGetty1 karma

Look for my answer to an earlier such question above. I am committed to contemporary artists. We show them in our galleries from time to time. We have an artaist in residence every year in the Getty Research Institute (this year it's Richard Tuttle), and analyze, conserve, and publish scientific studies of contemporary art. As I said above, if it weren't for artists, we'd be out of a job. They tyhe things we collection, presenve, and present.

Haptoglobin1 karma

Hi Jim,

You did fantastic work while at the Art Institute of Chicago. Do you ever plan to come back or collaborate on future projects?

(And unrelated, I wanted to say thank you for hosting the little gathering for Puget Sound potentials almost a decade ago. I didn't end up at Puget Sound, but I remember that evening fondly.)

JimCunoGetty1 karma

How nice of you to say this. Where dod you go to college? UPS is agreat place but I'm sure your school was equally good.

Xeal8881 karma

I visited the Getty four years ago when I was a senior in high school. To this day, it is still my favorite memory of going to LA with my choir. We were lucky to be there when they had DaVinci drawings. It was amazing. Thank so much.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

How nice of you to write. Thank you.

geneticlemon1 karma

I just want to thank you for maintaining what I consider two of the most beautiful places in the world. My brother first took me to the Getty when I was a little girl and I was so awestruck by the immense number of art and historical artifacts. Even in my adulthood, I am left speechless every time I visit. Then when I visited the Villa for the first time, I couldn't believe how such an accurate and authentic Italian Villa could be in the middle of Malibu. What the Getty Trust does is so vitally important, and I hope you are able to continue this legacy for my children and my children's children.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

Thank you. I can't think of a higher compliment or greater responsibility. Thgank you again.

chasr1231 karma

I would just like to say that I had the chance to visit the Getty last summer and it was a truly remarkable experience. Being a potter myself I was especially interested in the pottery section but the entire property and the collection of course was utterly beautiful; I can't wait to visit again.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

Do come soon, and often!

MissVolkova1 karma

I'm a news reporter in college trying to find my path in life. Got any advice? Or any job offers? (Just kidding of course)

JimCunoGetty1 karma

See my response to the question just before yours.


Do you have any suggestions or pieces of advice for young adults interested in pursuing a career involved with museums?

JimCunoGetty1 karma

Do everything you can to get even a aprt-time job in one or an internship to see if you real;ly like it. And study art history and develop your personal and writing skills. And don't give up!

Illinois_smith1 karma

How did the tram come about? Surely there was some skepticism in the early stages.

JimCunoGetty1 karma

I don't think so. It was always thought to be an important part of experiencing the Getty.

sofakingmad1 karma

looking back on it, how big of a mistake was it selling ESPN?

JimCunoGetty2 karma

Never owned it.

gunpla0 karma


JimCunoGetty2 karma

We have internships. Check out our Website. I'm afaraid it may be too late for this summer.

juror_chaos-6 karma

So which would you rather fight - a horse sized duck or a bunch of duck sized horses?

JimCunoGetty4 karma

I'm frightened of both. I'd rather engage with the elephant in the room.