The J. Paul Getty Trust 2014 Report
Message from the Chair
Mark S. Siegel, Chair, Board of Trustees
The J. Paul Getty Trust
Last year we celebrated the Getty Trust's accomplishments during its first thirty remarkable years, and again asked ourselves the difficult question: what should the Getty seek to accomplish in the long term, given our legacy of achievements, our unparalleled skills, and our unique resources? We again sought to establish meaningfully high strategic goals for all trust endeavors, and to allocate the appropriate resources to achieve them.
One such goal is leadership in the digital humanities as it transforms the visual arts. Just as the digital revolution changed our daily lives, we see digital technology revolutionizing art-historical research and scholarship, and indeed the entire museum visitorship experience. To refine our efforts in this area, Getty staff is presenting regular detailed reports to the Board of Trustees regarding the work the Getty is doing in all areas of the digital realm.
THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES
With the digital revolution as a focal point, you will note that this Trust Report has taken a new direction. To provide readers with a glimpse into the Getty's work, you will find essays by two leading scholars in the digital humanities, followed by reports from each of the Getty's programs—Conservation Institute, Foundation, Research Institute, and Museum—describing the Getty's activities in the rapidly changing digital-arts world.
One important touchstone of our leadership commitment in this new frontier is the principal of unrestricted digital access to our collections. Consistent with this principle, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute (GRI) have both lifted restrictions on images to which they own all the rights, giving the public free, unlimited access to more than 90,000 images. We will continue to add images until all applicable Getty-owned images will be freely accessible through the Getty's Open Content program.
Moreover, Getty Publications has released more than 250 titles through the Virtual Library, making them freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. The GRI has made 100,000 art-historical materials available through the Digital Public Library of America and released two of its art-historical vocabularies as Linked Open Data, with more to come.
Similarly, the Getty Foundation has spearheaded an initiative to transform the traditional scholarly art-historical catalogue from a traditional print publication to an interactive, freely accessible online version. This new approach to museum catalogues has already been adopted by some of the leading arts institutions in the United States.
And, in a related way, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), working with the World Monuments Fund, has developed Arches, a user friendly, open source information management software system, designed to help safeguard cultural heritage sites worldwide. This groundbreaking software is quickly gaining widespread acceptance.
Our focus is not confined to the digital world alone; in addition, the Getty undertook many new groundbreaking projects last year that made a significant difference in the world of art, both in Los Angeles and around the world. Following are just a few highlights.
J. Paul Getty Medal
Last year the trustees created the J. Paul Getty Medal, which is presented annually to honor distinguished contributors from around the world in the areas in which the Getty is focused. As the world's leading international arts organization committed to preserving the world's artistic legacy, it is altogether fitting and proper that the Getty recognizes—through the presentation of a public award of significance—individuals who have joined in this important mission. The inaugural J. Paul Getty Medal was presented to Harold M. Williams, the Getty Trust's first president and CEO, and Nancy Englander, former director of program planning and analysis, for their leadership in creating today's Getty.
Pacific Standard Time and other Significant Exhibitions
The Pacific Standard Time program continues as a leading organizer of major area-wide, multi-institutional exhibitions and we have begun the countdown to Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, which will launch in September 2017. During the past fiscal year, the Getty held a major conference of scholars and announced grants for research and planning for this ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art.
Two important exhibitions from last year merit special mention. Jackson Pollock's Mural presented findings from the study and treatment of this monumental painting by the Museum and the GCI, resulting in one the Getty Center's most highly attended exhibitions. The project also received significant international attention.
At the Getty Villa, the Museum exhibited the Cyrus Cylinder, one of the most celebrated discoveries from the ancient world. Supported by the Farhang Foundation, the exhibition's local sponsor and community partner, the national tour of the Cyrus Cylinder was curated and organized by the British Museum in partnership with the Iran Heritage Foundation and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Intuition. It, too, resulted in record attendance at the Getty Villa.
Both the Museum and GRI added to their collections during the year. Two of the most noteworthy additions to the Museum's collection are sculptures: Christ and Mary Magdalene by Auguste Rodin and Antinous by Italian master Pietro Tacca. At the GRI, important archives tracing the history of the New York art scene were acquired, including those of photographer Robert McElroy and of The Kitchen, one of the leading alternative art spaces devoted to performance art, dance, music, and video in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s.
Private philanthropic support of the Getty's work locally and around the world continued to exceed expectations, and we are tremendously grateful to the many benefactors who have given so generously. Cash contributions during the fiscal year surpassed our goal by 18 percent, and charitable gifts averaged 29 percent above the goals set in our strategic plan for the past three fiscal years. Equally important are the gifts of art, archival materials, and other in-kind contributions. Without these extraordinary donations the Getty could not continue to enhance its exceptional collections with material formerly in private hands.
The Getty is fortunate to have active and engaged Councils that work with the Museum, Conservation Institute and Research Institute to fund projects and programs that enrich our ability to preserve the world's cultural legacy.
On behalf of my fellow trustees, I want to thank those who have demonstrated the ultimate confidence in the J. Paul Getty Trust by supporting the Getty financially and by transferring their treasures to the Getty's care.
I am particularly proud of the work undertaken by the Getty Board of Trustees, and want to thank the board for its service. I'm pleased to announce that two new board members were elected during the year: Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, and James F. Rothenberg, chairman of the Capital Group Companies, Inc. They join a board that is dedicated to the long-term success of the Getty.
Finally, I join my fellow trustees in extending our thanks to the Getty's management team and staff for yet another year of great accomplishment.