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Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities Announces 1996-97 Getty Scholars

Los Angeles to be Focus of Scholar Year

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Next month, 13 artists, writers, architects, and scholars will begin nine-month residencies at the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities. Gathered around the theme, Perspectives on Los Angeles: Narratives, Images, History, they will focus on the people, historical events, and economic forces that have made Los Angeles a cultural crossroads on the Pacific Rim.

Each year, the Research Institute brings together a distinguished group of scholars, artists, and other cultural figures from the U.S. and abroad to pursue individual and collaborative projects. While many of this year's invitees are from Southern California, the group also includes scholars from Urbana-Champaigne, Illinois and Toulouse, France. The interests of the group range from the representation of Los Angeles in feature films to the city's environmental history and the interaction of aesthetics and politics in Los Angeles architecture.

The Getty Scholars will have access to the Research Institute's Resource Collections of books, manuscripts, and archival materials, as well the scholarly research materials housed at other Southern California universities, libraries, archives, and cultural institutions, including the University of California, Los Angeles; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library; the University of Southern California; California State University, Northridge; and the Huntington Library. The Getty Scholars will collaborate with one another and with members of the Research Institute staff and the local academic communities during their residencies. They will also participate in seminars, public lectures, and collaborative projects with other research institutions in Southern California.

Visiting scholars with related interests will also conduct research at the Institute for periods ranging from several weeks to three months. In addition, five Getty Fellows have been selected to be in residence for the academic year. Institute Fellowships provide support for predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars who will be completing their dissertations or preparing them for publication. Their dissertation titles relating to Los Angeles are "Mexican-American Low Riders," "Politics, Graffiti, and Gang Ideology," "In Search of the Good Life: Community and Politics in Working-Class Los Angeles, 1920-1955," and "Locating Chicano Identity, and Learning From Los Angeles: The New Urban Space in Global Context."

Since 1985, the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities (formerly known as the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities) has brought together scholars, writers, and artists whose work focuses on a particular research theme. The Getty Scholars form the core of the Scholars and Seminars Program, designed by the Research Institute to foster an interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas. A total of 122 scholars from 23 countries have participated in the program to date. Past research themes include "The Americas," "Memory," and "The Nature and Idea of Collecting."

The 1996-97 scholar year, Perspectives on Los Angeles: Narratives, Images, History, is part of a year-long series of events and activities relating to Los Angeles organized by the Getty Research Institute. These events include an exhibition of photographs of Los Angeles by Camilo José Vergara; "L.A. as Subject," a project to inventory local historical resources on the cultural heritage and evolution of Los Angeles; and "L.A. Culture Net," a unique, collaborative initiative with other Getty Institutes to foster a local, on-line cultural community. The year coincides with the Research Institute's move to the Getty Center in June, 1997. The Getty Center, a cultural complex dedicated to the visual arts and the humanities now under construction in the Sepulveda Pass alongside the San Diego (405) freeway, will open in the fall of 1997.

(Editors Note: See attached list of Getty Scholars and Fellows and areas of study.) The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to the production of innovative scholarship in the arts and the humanities and provides a unique environment for research, critical inquiry, and debate. Integral to its interdisciplinary approach is the concept that visual arts and artifacts should not be studied in isolation, but assessed within the broad historical and cultural contexts in which they were created. The Research Institute provides valuable support for scholars through its extensive collections, which includes manuscripts, archives, visual materials, and some 750,000 volumes of books, serials, and auction catalogs; and by inviting groups of interdisciplinary researchers to the Institute to conduct their research as scholars in residence. Scholarship produced at the Research Institute is disseminated at the local, national, and international levels through an active publications and exhibitions program and a wide range of public programming that includes lectures, performances, and symposia. The Research Institute will move to the Getty Center in the summer of 1997.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is a private operating foundation dedicated to the visual arts and the humanities. Through a museum, five institutes, and a grant program, the Getty provides opportunities for people to more fully understand, experience, value, and preserve the world's art and cultural heritage. The Getty comprises the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Information Institute, the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, the Getty Leadership Institute for Museum Management, and the Getty Grant Program.

The Getty Scholars

Professor Robert L. Carringer
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department of English
Robert Carringer, a professor of English and film studies at the University of Illinois, will begin research on the representation of Los Angeles in Hollywood feature films since 1975. Among Dr. Carringer's books are The Magnificent Ambersons: A Reconstruction and The Making of Citizen Kane.

Professor Dana C. Cuff
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Architecture and Urban Design
Professor Cuff will examine architectural projects in Los Angeles from World War II to the present, which reveal the interaction of aesthetics and politics in urban form. "The physical climate of Los Angeles,"says Cuff, "its building traditions, and its ideological aversion to history have created fertile ground for a fugitive architecture."

Mr. Mike Davis
Independent Scholar, History and Urban Studies
Los Angeles
Author Mike Davis (City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles) will pursue his research on the environmental history of Los Angeles and Southern California, concentrating on the period from 1850-1950.

Professor Robert Dawidoff
Claremont Graduate School
Department of History
Professor Dawidoff will complete his research on the artistic production of gay men in Los Angeles and its impact on 20th-century American culture.

Professor Christopher Donnan
Fowler Museum of Cultural History
University of California, Los Angeles
Professor Donnan will pursue research on Moche pottery, as well as comparative archaeology.

Professor Philip J. Ethington
University of Southern California
Department of History
Utilizing an advanced Geographic Information System (GIS) data set, Professor Ethington will attempt "to contest the century-old model of urban studies, which has sought to narrate the histories of single communities as homogeneous wholes. My study builds on a 'borderlands' perspective to orient attention to the zones of contact and exchange between groups."

Professor Robbert Flick
University of Southern California
School of Fine Arts
Photographer and media artist Robbert Flick will spend the year pursuing his "visual documentation" of Los Angeles. "On the facades of the buildings and in the gardens of the houses," says Flick, "a living history unfolds, and a visual text reflecting the terrors and hopes of generations emerges."

Professor Roger O. Friedland
University of California, Santa Barbara
Department of Sociology
Working in conjunction with fellow Getty Scholar Harold Zellman, Roger Friedland will pursue a project which examines the architectural and ethnographic history of Crestwood Hills, a "modern cooperative village" that began as the Mutual Housing Association (MHA) in 1946--"The prototype for the modern hillside housing development, one of the few vernacular architectures California has produced."

Professor Thomas S. Hines
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of History and School of Architecture
Professor Hines will complete a book on modernist architecture in Los Angeles. Among Dr. Hines' books are The Architecture of Richard Neutra (with Arthur Drexler); Franklin D. Israel, Buildings and Projects (with Franklin Israel); and Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture.

Professor David E. James
University of Southern California
School of Cinema
David James will undertake a project on the history of avant-garde, experimental film-making in Los Angeles, with a long-range goal of developing an analysis of the effect of Hollywood on cultural practices and social structures in Los Angeles. "In reconstructing this history, I employ significantly new interdisciplinary models of independent film and of the relation between culture and social geography," says James. "Both are Los Angeles-specific, but both are capable of a general extension in such a way that provides a basis for a new understanding of the role of Los Angeles in modernism and, especially, post-modernity."

Professor Jérôme Monnet
Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail
Toulouse, France
Professor Monnet, a scholar of Latin American urban history, will be conducting a comparative study of the urban socio-political history of city centers in North and South America, using Los Angeles as one of the major focal points of the study.

Professor Allan Sekula
California Institute of the Arts
Valencia, California
Artist and scholar Alan Sekula will research a project examining the "complex identities and transformations" of the port of Los Angeles. "Los Angeles is paradigmatic of the contemporary port city by virtue of the sheer distance between the city's putative 'centers' and the industrial port," says Sekula.

Mr. Harold Zellman
Harold Zellman and Associates, Architects
Los Angeles, California
Along with Getty Scholar Roger Friedland, architect Harold Zellman will examine the Mutual Housing Association (MHA) project from 1946. "We seek to show the ways in which modern architecture began as part of a progressive politics in the United States," says Zellman, "and to examine a concrete case that shows how important California was as a center of these architectural and political ideas."

Getty Fellows
Brenda Bright received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Rice University, with a dissertation entitled "Mexican-American Low Riders: An Anthropological Approach to Popular Culture."

Becky M. Nicolaides received her Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University, with a dissertation entitled "In Search of the Good Life: Community and Politics in Working-Class Los Angeles, 1920-1955."

Ramón García, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, San Diego, is completing his dissertation "Locating Chicano Identity: Realism, the Baroque and the Crisis of Representation."

Kanishka Goonewardena, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University, is completing his dissertation entitled "Learning From Los Angeles: The New Urban Space in Global Context." Susan A. Phillips, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, is completing her dissertation entitled "Politics, Graffiti, and Gang Ideology: The Ethnography of a Bloods Neighborhood."

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit our event calendar for a complete calendar of public programs.

The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library - housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier - is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library's special collections include rare books, artists' journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.