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Agreement will Result in Exhibitions, Conservation Projects, Scholarly Research, and a Seismic Mitigation Conference

February 17, 2010

LOS ANGELES/PALERMO–David Bomford, acting director of the J. Paul Getty Museum and Gaetano Armao, assessore regionale dei beni culturali e dell’identità siciliana, announced today a long-term collaboration between the Sicilian Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity and the J. Paul Getty Museum. The agreement, which was signed by both parties, will result in a number of collaborative efforts, including object conservation, earthquake protection of collections, exhibitions, scholarly research and conferences.

In conjunction with the announcement, Assessore Armao said:  “I'd like to stress that it's a very important and innovative agreement, marking a qualitative turning point in both the management and the advancement of Sicily’s cultural heritage. We absolutely need to restore credibility to the administration of Sicilian cultural heritage. Under these circumstances, the agreement with the J. Paul Getty Museum is an historic move.

Instead of limiting ourselves to the mere restitution of one among the many extraordinary antiquities associated with ancient Sicily, we have chosen to pursue a path of mutually beneficial and effective collaboration with one of the most important art institutions in the world.”

Adds David Bomford:  “I am delighted that the Getty Museum has reached a mutually beneficial agreement with our colleagues in Sicily that allows us to expand our relationship with Italy to this very important region for the study of the ancient Mediterranean. This accord is an extension of our 2007 agreement with the Italian Ministry of Culture, which paved the way for a number of important projects.”
As a result of the agreement, several collaborative projects are planned:

The Getty Museum will undertake a major exhibition that will investigate Sicily during the Classical and Hellenistic Periods (the fifth through third centuries B.C.), an era that witnessed the emergence of its founding Greek colonies as some of the wealthiest and most powerful metropolises in the Mediterranean world. Provisionally entitled Between Greece and Rome: Sicily in the Classical and Hellenistic Period, the exhibition will open at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in 2013 and will borrow from a number of Sicilian museums as well as from international museums with significant collections of antiquities found in Sicily.

The Getty will also collaborate with the Museo Archeologico Regionale “Antonino Salinas” in Palermo; the Superintendency of Trapani; and Professor Clemente Marconi from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University to organize an exhibition on Selinunte (Selinos), an important Greek colonial settlement in southwestern Sicily, best known for its Greek temples from the archaic and classical periods. The opening date for this exhibition is still to be determined.

Under the terms of the agreement, both these exhibitions will be considered by the Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity in Sicily for possible presentation at the Palazzo Aiutamicristo in Palermo, a center for the study of Sicilian art and culture.

Seismic Mitigation Conference
Starting in 2006, the Department of Antiquities Conservation at the Getty Museum has organized a series of annual international conferences devoted to the topic of seismic mitigation for museum collections. These conferences have taken place in Los Angeles (2006), Istanbul (2007), Athens (2008), and Tokyo (2009), bringing together a wide variety of expertise to address the specific issue of minimizing earthquake damage to museum collections.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Getty will partner with the Centro Regionale per la Progettazione e il Restauro e per le Scienze Applicate ai Beni Culturali to organize the next conference in Sicily in 2010. As part of this congress, there will be a one-day workshop for museum technicians and conservators on seismic mount-making, as well as other topics related to caring for collections in earthquake-prone regions.

Object Conservation
In the area of object conservation, the Getty Museum will utilize its expertise in antiquities conservation and state-of-the-art facilities at the Getty Villa to collaborate with Sicilian colleagues to treat objects in need of conservation, particularly to enhance the protection of selected works from earthquake damage while on display.

Inaugurating this partnership are two projects with the Museo Archeologico di Agrigento. The Marble Youth from Agrigento will be brought to the Getty in the fall of 2010 for the development of a custom earthquake isolation base to protect it while on display. The object then will be placed on view at the Getty Villa with the museum’s permanent collection.  Similarly, an attic red-figured krater by the Niobid Painter from Agrigento will come to the Getty Villa in April 2010, and after the development of a custom earthquake isolation base, will be displayed with the permanent collection.  Finally, a remarkable marble statue known as the Youth from Motya will also be studied in order to develop a new seismic restraint and to improve its aesthetic presentation. Following the conservation efforts, the youth from Motya will be included in the exhibition Between Greece and Rome. When all three works are returned to Sicily, they will be accompanied by their new seismic isolators for display in their home museums.

Additionally, several objects from the site of Morgantina that relate to the worship of Demeter and Persephone, now in the collection of the Museo Archeologico di Aidone, will be loaned to the Getty Museum for display in its “Gods and Goddesses” gallery at the Getty Villa for one year. Upon arrival at the Getty, the objects will be evaluated for possible conservation treatment before going on view.

In addition to these specific projects, the Getty Museum and the Sicilian region plan to engage in an ongoing dialogue on best practices in the museum profession, and an exchange of professional expertise in educational programs and exhibition planning and design.

With this new agreement, the Getty Museum will now have collaborative arrangements with the Sicilian region, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence, and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.

Note to editors: Images available upon request

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Rebecca Taylor
Getty Communications

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