Getty Research Institute News
A Canoe Trip, Leandro Katz, 1970. Chromogenic color print. Getty Research Institute, 2019.R.16


  Photo by John Atherton, Yale West Campus

A Message from Our Director

Dear colleagues across the world:

Greetings! We are in a new place, a place we have never seen before.

In this new COVID-defined world, we are isolated both physically and socially while nevertheless expected to teach (or attend) classes online, facilitate distance learning for children at home, or complete a research project without convenient access to resources and methods of scholarly exchange. Like so many of you, my own books are out of reach in an empty office, and my meetings are held over screens. This world has changed.

As we do our best to adapt, we are eager to strengthen our electronic bonds, and this newsletter is part of our commitment to network. We will work hard to provide you with online resources that inspire and inform, supporting your efforts from home during this transition.

Mary E. Miller
Director, Getty Research Institute


  Healer caring for patients suffering from smallpox during the first epidemic in 1520, Book 12 of the Florentine Codex ("Of the Conquest of New Spain"), 1577, Ms. Mediceo Palatino 220, fol. 53v. Courtesy the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, and by permission of MiBACT

New World Encyclopedia Created during the 1576 Epidemic

In 1576, a Spanish Franciscan friar and a group of Nahua scholars sat in the scriptorium of Mexico's first college, the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco. Bent over reams of paper in concentrated effort, they created the first encyclopedia of the New World, known today as the Florentine Codex. While these scholars worked, cloistered off from the world, millions of Indigenous people were dying from the third wave of epidemics to ravage New Spain, the Great Pestilence of 1576.

Read on: How a vital record of Mexican indigenous life was created under quarantine.

More about the Florentine Codex Initiative.


  LeRonn Brooks in the Johnson Publishing Company archive

PODCAST: African American Art History at the Getty Research Institute

One of the many outcomes of the 1960s civil rights movement was the start of serious academic study of art of the African Diaspora, including by African American artists. On the podcast, J. Paul Getty Trust President Jim Cuno, Associate Curator LeRonn Brooks, and Columbia professor Kellie Jones discuss how the study of art by African Americans and other artists of the African Diaspora has evolved, the urgency of preserving critical archival materials, and plans for the future of the African American Art History Initiative.

Listen to the podcast.

More about the African American Art History Initiative.


  Ming Smith and Dawoud Bey at Getty Center

Oral Histories with Artists

These firsthand accounts capture stories of prominent African American painters and photographers as they share their individual approaches to color, light, and the object, and discuss the support they derived from artists' communities and art spaces over the course of their careers. These videos are the latest addition to the Research Institute's growing collection of oral history videos, audio recordings, and transcripts; together, they represent the voices of over 1,000 people who contributed to shaping the artistic landscape of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Watch now.

Browse the Oral Histories Collection.



What do you want to know more about?

In the new series, #AskGetty our art experts answer your burning questions about anything from alchemy to Federico Zuccari. Ask your questions on the Getty's Facebook page or at and we will get the right person to make you a video with the answer. Don't be shy!

Post your question.



The 3D Paper Sculpture Challenge

Creative "at home" challenges abound on the internet each day, but how many are 100 years old? Bauhaus master Josef Albers challenged his students to think deeply about the art of construction by using a single sheet of paper to create a 3D design. Try building your own 3D paper sculpture from this exercise designed to inspire students of the Bauhaus so many years ago.

Take the challenge.


  A Canoe Trip, Leandro Katz, 1970. Chromogenic color print. Getty Research Institute, 2019.R.16

"While traveling by land and water to visit Maya ruins in Guatemala in 1970, Argentinian-American artist, writer, and filmmaker Leandro Katz ran out of regular photographic film and was left with only infrared film. He added colored filters and captured surreal images of lush nature as he ventured to remote Maya ruins. Katz's experimentation resulted in A Canoe Trip, provoking us to think about how scarcity of materials can sometimes generate new creative approaches."

—Idurre Alonso, associate curator of Latin American collections

More about A Canoe Trip.



Getty Research Journal Goes Biannual and Is Now Accepting Submissions

Submissions received by July 1, 2020, will be considered for the inaugural Fall issue in 2021. Now to be published twice a year, in February and in August, the journal will continue to feature the work of art historians, museum curators, and conservators around the world as part of Getty's mission to promote the presentation, conservation, and interpretation of the world's artistic legacy. We welcome submissions of original scholarship relevant to Getty's initiatives, research projects and themes, and collections.

Learn more and view instructions for authors.

View the journal online.



Researching from Home?

The Getty Research Institute (GRI) has a number of resources that can help you stay connected to both your research and the GRI community while we all adhere to self-isolation protocols for the duration of the COVID-19 closure. Here are just a few that we think are especially handy.

Getty Library Resources
Access digitized art history publications, rare books, and related literature via the Getty Research Portal. Browse the Getty Iris round-up of Getty digital resources accessible from home. Search our library's Digital Collections and Article and Subscription Databases: A-Z List.

Community Resources
The Internet Archive offers free access to public domain content and Controlled Digital Lending of tens of thousands of e-books still under copyright. The Los Angeles Public Library offers immediate access to their digital content for Los Angeles residents through e-card registration.



For the latest news on how Getty is responding to COVID-19, please follow the link below to our special page. And follow us @gettymuseum on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for highlights of Getty art and resources, and to share what you'd like to see!

Stay updated.


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