Mitchell Hearns Bishop

Research Coordinator, Documentation Program

Born in Hawaii before statehood, Mitchell Bishop moved with his family to the San Fernando Valley, part of Los Angeles, when he was a small child. Interested in biology, he intended to become a doctor, but after seeing an exhibition on the California Arts and Crafts movement, he enrolled at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) to study painting, printmaking, and photography. This was not as radical a departure as it seems. His grandfather was a draftsman and map maker as well as a frustrated artist, and his parents had lifelong interests in art and music.

Within CSUN's excellent studio art department, Mr. Bishop studied with some of Southern California's best working artists. In addition, he worked in the university library's reference department, where he discovered an aptitude for bibliographic and visual research. An ethnobotany class sparked an enduring interest in the uses of plants by the various cultures of the world.

In 1979, he became an assistant preparator at the Getty Museum. Later, he was briefly in charge of the Museum's historical archive. His position and the archive were subsequently absorbed into the newly formed Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. Several years later, prompted by a growing interest in conservation, he joined the Conservation Institute as a research assistant for Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA).

Now one of two research coordinators for the Research and Applications section of the Documentation Program, Mr. Bishop's duties involve managing bibliographic and visual research, as well as an active role in field projects. Currently, he is assisting in the digital documentation of a David Alfaro Siqueiros mural that the Institute is working to preserve. He has published on bibliographic research methods for conservators and on other topics, and co-authored several articles and a forthcoming supplement to AATA on the conservation of painted ethnographic objects.

 

Marta de la Torre

Director, Training Program

It was art and museums that led Marta de la Torre to conservation. She was born in Havana, Cuba, where she spent her first fourteen years before moving with her family to the United States. Art was an early interest, and she majored in design and art history at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. Following graduate work in art history, she completed the Ecole du Louvre, the French National Museum's curatorial school, and a master's degree in arts management from American University in Washington, D.C.

In 1981 she became the first director of special projects of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in Paris. There she worked on a number of projects, including the renovation of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the creation of the Nubia Museum in Aswan, the training development of curatorial staff of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization, and evaluation of UNESCO's regional training centers in Africa. Her involvement with ICOM continues—she is currently its Treasurer and a member of the Executive Council.

In 1985, she joined the Getty Conservation Institute to become the first director of its training program. With her international experience and management background, she sought to develop a program that integrated a managerial component in conservation and addressed pressing needs in the field. Preventive conservation, then only starting to be emphasized, was an early focus. She believes that the courses she has helped develop, together with others created in archaeological conservation, have helped enlarge the Institute's vision of conservation—that it is not only science and treatment but also planning and prevention. As a complement to the Institute's work, she would like to see the GCI join an American university to create the first master's degree program in archaeological and ethnographic conservation in the United States. She takes pride in the work done by the Training Program, and in the commitment and dedication of the Training Program staff.