FY 2019 at Getty:
The Year in Review

Left: The Garden Terrace at Getty Center, showing three tall travertine columns, people at tables, and the garden in the background. Center: Three people on the ground, working on something in the dirt, using conservation tools. Right: Two young girls look up at a marble bust of a woman.

In fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018–June 30, 2019) Getty collaborated on numerous conservation projects around the world, mounted major exhibitions with partner institutions, and launched international initiatives to strengthen the practice of art history. The year also saw the acquisition of Claes Oldenburg archives and other important works, a scholar year focused on monumental art and architecture, and much more.

Message from the President

2019 was a year of many new chapters at Getty. Four esteemed colleagues stepped into leadership roles: Lisa Lapin, the Trust’s new vice president of communications, came to us from Stanford University, where she spent 10 years as chief communications officer; Drew Gilpin Faust, an eminent American historian, joined Getty’s Board after 11 years as president of Harvard University; Mary Miller, a leading expert in Mesoamerican art, became the new director of the Getty Research Institute (GRI) after a distinguished career at Yale University; and David L. Lee, a member of the Getty Board of Trustees since 2009 and chair of the California Institute of Technology’s board, began a four-year term as Getty’s new board chair.

We started a new role ourselves as a center for the study of African American art, having launched the African American Art History Initiative. Through this ambitious program, the GRI has already acquired the archive of celebrated artist Betye Saar and formed an advisory committee of leading scholars, artists, curators, and champions of African American art. Kellie Jones, MacArthur fellow and professor in art history and archaeology, signed on as senior consultant, and LeRonn P. Brooks, formerly a faculty member in the Department of Africana Studies at Lehman College in New York, joined Getty as the first associate curator for Modern and Contemporary Collections specializing in African American art.

A record number of leaders in the art world received the Getty Medal in 2018: Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem; renowned sculptor Richard Serra; and Agnes Gund, president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art. Shortly after they were celebrated at the Getty Center, we announced the 2019 Getty Medal recipients: Cambridge University Classics Professor Mary Beard and groundbreaking artists Lorna Simpson and Ed Ruscha.

This “Year in Review” is itself a first. Instead of a printed Trust Report, we’ll now offer a digital roundup of Getty’s biggest news stories for the year and link you to videos, blog posts, and other sources. While you’re here on our site, I hope you’ll also browse through our latest Iris blog posts, listen to our Art + Ideas podcast, and explore the projects we’re working on now, including Art x Science x LA, the newest in our series of Pacific Standard Time initiatives.

Artists and Their Books/Books and Their Artists
A Getty Research Institute exhibition provoked new inquiry into the nature of art and highlighted the essential role books play in contemporary culture.

Getty Foundation Launched Conservation Grant Initiative for Paintings on Canvas
Conserving Canvas is expanding the knowledge and skills of paintings conservators.

2018 J. Paul Getty Medal
Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Agnes Gund, president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, and renowned sculptor Richard Serra received the Getty Medal.

Ritual Theater at the Villa
The Four Larks theater company premiered katabasis, a roving outdoor experience structured like an Orphic rite to complement the exhibition Underworld: Imagining the Afterlife.

Getty Research Institute Launched African American Art History Initiative
Getty’s new African American Art History Initiative aims to establish the Getty Research Institute as a major center for the study of African American art history.

Conservation of Louise Nevelson Sculpture
The reinstallation of the Louise Nevelson sculpture City on the High Mountain marked the completion of an important case study in the Getty Conservation Institute's Outdoor Sculpture project.

Five Years of Keeping It Modern
A new report summarized the important impact of Keeping It Modern, an international grant initiative of Getty Foundation focused on conserving 20th century buildings worldwide.

The Renaissance Nude
Getty Museum’s major fall 2018 exhibition explored the complexity of the nude in Renaissance art and the controversies it provoked.

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
The first international survey of the work of American photographer Sally Mann opened at the Getty Center.

Research Institute Hosted Scholar Year on Monumentality
2018/2019 Getty Scholars pondered “the monumental,” examining topics ranging from landscape monuments of the prehistoric Sahara to “anti-monuments” in contemporary Korea.

Museum Acquired Painting by Turn-of-the-Century Danish Artist Vilhelm Hammershøi
A characteristically luminous and enigmatic image, Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25, encapsulates Hammershøi’s particular visual poetry.

Major 19th-Century Landscape Painting by Giovanni Segantini Joined the Getty Collection
The lush mountain scene, commissioned for American collector Jacob Stern, was on public view in San Francisco for more than 70 years.

Conservation Institute Completed Tomb of Tutankhamen Project
The Getty Conservation Institute and Egyptian authorities carried out the most thorough study and conservation of the legendary tomb since its discovery by Howard Carter in 1922.

Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters
A Getty Center exhibition about Renaissance painter Jacopo da Pontormo provided a deeper understanding of his imaginative work and process.

Digital Mapping Technology Meets Art History
The Getty Foundation’s Digital Art History initiative supports mapping projects in Pompeii, Çatalhöyük, Florence, and Rio de Janeiro.

Getty and University of Arizona Partner to Conserve Long-Lost de Kooning Painting
More than 30 years after it was stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art, Willem de Kooning’s painting Woman-Ochre (1954–1955) traveled to Getty to be conserved and studied in partnership with the university.

Research Institute Acquired Archives of Artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
The extensive archives are particularly rich in materials from Oldenburg’s breakthrough decade of the 1960s, and comprehensively cover Oldenburg’s and his wife van Bruggen’s prolific careers.

The Eames House—Conserving a California Icon
Working with the Getty Conservation Institute and its Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative team, the Eames Foundation adopted a conservation management plan for the historic Eames House.

Museum Acquired 17 Ancient Engraved Gems Never Before on Public View
The most significant acquisition for the Getty Villa in over a decade brought some of the greatest Greek, Roman, and Etruscan gems into the Getty’s collection.

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World
Getty’s spring 2019 exhibition was the first to examine the influence of the bestiary, a type of illustrated book popular in northern Europe containing stories about the religious meanings of animals real and imagined.

Museum Launched Getty Unshuttered 2.0
An updated version of Getty’s award-winning app helps emerging artists improve their photographic portfolios and tell their own stories.

The Church of Kuñotambo, Peru
As part of the Getty Conservation Institute’s Earthen Architecture Initiative, a newly conserved 17th-century church high in the Andes offers a model for the preservation of earthen buildings at risk from earthquakes.

Conservation of an Ancient Bronze Statue
The Drunken Satyr, a rare ancient bronze on loan from Naples, underwent conservation and anchored the Villa’s major summer 2019 exhibition, Buried by Vesuvius: Treasures from the Villa dei Papiri.

Next Pacific Standard Time Announced
Art x Science x LA will create a region-wide civic dialogue about the intertwined history of two critical fields and their relationship to today’s pressing problems.

Image Credits

Center banner image: photo by Jason Quinlan

A moment in Four Larks theater company’s katabasis. Photo: Gema Galiana

City on the High Mountain by Louise Nevelson. Photo: Jennifer Heffner © J. Paul Getty Trust; artwork © 2019 Estate of Louise Nevelson/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Theaster Gates, artist in residence during the Monumentality scholar year. Photo: Sara Pooley

The Tomb of Tutankhamen project team undertakes wall painting conservation in the burial chamber. Photo: Lori Wong

Eames House. Photo: Mitsuya Okumura, used by permission. © Eames Office LLC. All rights reserved.

From Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World, the Getty Museum’s major spring/ summer exhibition: Griffin (detail) from Book of Flowers, France and Belgium, 1460. Tempera colors on parchment. Koninklijke Bibliotheek/National Library of the Netherlands, The Hague, Ms. 72 A 23, fol. 46

Conservator William Shelley and preparator Rita Gomez of the Getty Museum oversee the safe arrival of the Drunken Satyr, a rare ancient bronze on loan from Naples. Drunken Satyr, 1st century B.C.–1st century A.D., Roman. Bronze. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, inv. 5628. Reproduced by agreement with the Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities and Tourism. National Archaeological Museum of Naples-Restoration Office