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The Research Institute's research projects support the development of new art historical scholarship and are often based on the special collections of the Research Library. Covering multiple fields and methodologies, these projects generate conversations between Research Institute staff and visiting scholars with wider networks of expertise, and disseminate outcomes to an international scholarly audience. Research project organizers welcome conversations with scholars working in related areas.

New Projects

Active Projects

Active Initiatives

Completed Projects


The Display of Art in Roman Palaces, 1550–1750
This project identifies and analyzes patterns of display in noble Roman residences over two centuries (1550–1750), a period that encompassed the beginnings of collecting as it is understood today and the end of the baroque. The very concept of art and the writing of the history of art developed in close dialogue with display in such settings. As part of the project, hundreds of Roman inventories were added to the Getty Provenance Index®.

Publication: Display of Art in the Roman Palace, 1550–1750

Conference: Display of Art in Roman Palaces, 1550–1750
The Getty Iris post: Display of Art in Roman Palaces


Los Angeles Architecture, 1940–1990
Part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., this project explored all aspects of the history of Los Angeles's architectural and urban development, from the city's mass-suburbanization and resulting sprawl to the construction of its freeway system, as well as architects' experiments with new building types, materials, and techniques. This broader approach enables a better understanding of a city that has been both maligned and admired, a city that some scholars have called the first postmodern city; others, the city of the future.

Symposium: Urban Ambition: Assessing the Evolution of L.A. (includes symposium video and program)
Conversation: Why L.A.? An Evening with Hitoshi Abe, Neil Denari, Craig Hodgetts, and Peter Noever (includes event video)
Public programming: Related Events
Exhibition: Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990
Publication: Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990

Resource: Julius Shulman Resources
Resource: Architecture and Design Collection Highlights
Collection: Julius Shulman digital photography archive
Collection: Ray Kappe Papers, 1954–2007
Collection: Pierre Koenig Papers and Drawings, 1925–2007
Collection: John Lautner Papers, 1929–2002
Collection: Union Station Collection


Orientalist Photography
The Middle East and North Africa—the "Orient" to 19th-century European travelers—were crucial in photography's development as a new technology and an art form. Meanwhile, photography was pivotal in maintaining Europe's distinctively Orientalist vision of the region. Orientalist photographs permit research into photography's role in shaping European and non-European views of the Middle East and North Africa; further, attention to the local artists, patrons, audiences, and collectors of these photographs complicates notions of the "Orient" both geographically and culturally.

Graduate seminar: Contact Visions: Orientalism, Photography, and the Middle East (winter 2009)
Symposium: Zoom Out: The Making and Unmaking of the "Orient" through Photography
Publication: Photography's Orientalism: New Essays on Colonialism's Representation

Collection: Pierre de Gigord Collection of Photographs
Collection: Jacobson Orientalist Photography Collection
Exhibition: Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City
Publication: Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City through Text and Image


Performance Works: Documenting Feminist Ephemeral Art
This project investigates the preparation, documentation, and archiving strategies employed by feminist performance artists in their creative output. Using as case studies the work of such artists as Carolee Schneemann, Barbara T. Smith, and Marta Jovanovic, it examines how the time- and site-specific experience of performance art is translated into physical material, which, contrary to the ephemeral enactment, can be collected, archived, and displayed. Areas of inquiry include to what extent the study of archival material influences art-historical scholarship and interpretation of a given work, as well as how performance documentation strategies are changing in relation to new technologies and media and what the implications are for the concept of the "archive."

Archive: Carolee Schneemann papers, 1959–1994
Archive: Barbara T. Smith papers, 1927–2012
The Getty Iris post: Hearts, Disgust, and Performance Art in Belgrade
Article: From Love to Hate — a performance in the Swiss Embassy Residence
The Getty Iris post: The "Disgusting" Female Body as Artistic Medium of Resistance
Conversation: Carolee Schneemann on Her Art and Archive


Printmaking in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715
In collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, this project reassesses the history of prints and techniques, print production, commerce, and taste and collecting in France from 1660 to 1715, providing the first broad overview of a watershed period once considered the golden age of French printmaking. From the grand portraits to satiric views of everyday life, the project explores the rich variety and varying functions of prints that came to define French power and style in ancient regimes.

Workshop: Printmaking in the Age of Louis XIV (January 14–18, 2013)
Lecture: Fit for a King: Louis XIV and the Art of Fashion
Symposium: forthcoming
Public program: An Afternoon Adventure with Cornelia Funke
Exhibition: A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715
Publication: A Kingdom of Images: French Prints in the Age of Louis XIV, 1660–1715

Exhibition: Printing the Grand Manner: Charles Le Brun and Monumental Prints in the Age of Louis XIV
Publication: Printing the Grand Manner: Charles Le Brun and Monumental Prints in the Age of Louis XIV


Surrealism in Latin America
The history of surrealism in Latin America is a vibrant research field that has developed over the last few decades. Scholars, however, face significant challenges: primary documents are often located in archives that are difficult to access, and secondary sources exist in several languages, complicating conversations among scholars. Work remains on the relationship between surrealism and pre-Columbian art; the role of key figures such as Peruvian poet César Moro and Austrian painter and editor Wolfgang Paalen; and surrealism's continuing legacy in the work of postwar artists in Latin America. This project addressed these challenges, producing new research in a wide variety of formats.

Digitized collection: Dyn, No. 1–No. 6 (on-site access only)
Resource: Surrealism in Latin America research guide
Bibliography: Surrealism in Latin America
Workshop program: Surrealism in Latin America
Symposium: Vivísimo Muerto: Debates on Surrealism in Latin America (includes symposium video and program)
Lecture: A "New Friendship between Art and Anthropology": Surrealism in Mexico (includes lecture video)
Exhibition: Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico
Publication: Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico
Publication: Surrealism in Latin America: Vivísimo Muerto
The Getty Iris post: The "Scandalous Life" of César Moro
The Getty Iris post: The Forgotten Surrealist

Completed Initiatives


Art on Screen
Though cinema's relationship to other arts has been the subject of scholarly discourse since the medium's inception, the unique hybridity of its production and display has often excluded it from mainstream art-historical discourse. Focusing on the complex relationship between moving-image media, fine art, and architecture, Art on Screen bridges the divide between cinema and the fine arts. Through a combination of interdisciplinary research, lectures, screenings, and symposia, this initiative revives cinema's position within the museum and art history.

Seminar: Living Art: An Evening with James Scott (December 2015)
Seminar: Landscape Films in the Age of Affluence—Jennifer Peterson and Alexander Nemerov (June 2015)
Seminar: Buon Fresco: A Screening and Conversation between Tacita Dean, Davide Gasparatto and Yvonne Szafran (December 2014)
Seminar: The Medium Messed: Aesthetics of Video Viewing—Ulrike Hanstein and Liz Kotz (April 2014)
Seminar: Rhythm and Pacing in Ivan the Terrible, Part I—Leah Jacobs and Michael Patterson (February 2014)
Seminar: Allan Sekula and the Cinema of Honest Materiality—Ed Dimendberg and Colin Gardener (November 2013)
Seminar: Spencer Williams: A Comic History of Race Movies—Jacqueline Stewart and Kara Keeling (October 2013)
Seminar: Wrong Living: Cinema and the Bungalow—John David Rhodes and Charles Wolfe (April 2013)
Seminar: Dancing with the Devil: The Rolling Stones in Cinema—David E. James and Rani Singh (February 2013)
Public program: Memorias del Subdesarrollo (Memories of Underdevelopment) film screening
Public Program: ASCENT: A film by Fiona Tan
Public Program: BURDEN film screening
Public Program: Mr. Turner film screening
Public Program: Passing Beauty: A Conversation with Hou Hsiao-Hsien (in partnership with the Academy Museum)
Public Program: In the Labyrinth: A Conversation with Guillermo Del Toro (in partnership with the Academy Museum)
Public program: Galaxie film screening
Public program: A Conversation with Agnès Varda (includes symposium video)
Public program: Smog film screening
Public program: FILM and Film with Tacita Dean
Public Program: William Krisel: Architect film screening and conversation
Workshop: Art Film and the Current Condition (June 15–16, 2012)
Workshop: Moving Image Workshop with Tom Gunning (April 2–3, 2010)
Workshop: Robert Beavers Film Workshop (October 2009)
Lecture series: ongoing

Collection: Harry Smith Papers
Publication: Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular
The Getty Iris post: Harry Smith's Archives and Collections Now at the Getty Research Institute
The Getty Iris post: Treasures from the Vault: Harry Smith and Patterns in the Wind