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Audio Tour for The Goats Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide Takes Top Honors

July 25, 2008

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum has received a 2008 MUSE Award for Audio and Visual Tours for its bilingual audio tour for the exhibition The Goat’s Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide. Now in its 19th year, the MUSE awards competition recognizes outstanding achievement in museum media. The competition is an activity of the Media and Technology Standing Professional Committee of the American Association of Museums (AAM).

 Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide is famous for her poetic, black-and-white photographs that explore the adaptation and reinvention of indigenous and colonial traditions within modern life.  The Getty Museum’s exhibition included iconic images of Juchitán women as well as images of Chicano culture in Tijuana and East Los Angeles.

The audio tour for the exhibition featured Roberto Tejada, a bilingual writer and scholar with expertise in Mexican photography and Chicano art, who has written about Iturbide’s photography and has known her personally for many years.

Language is an important aspect of Iturbide’s art, perhaps most evident in the wording of her titles, which hint at multiple layers of meaning. For that reason and because of Los Angeles’ large Hispanic population, two versions of the audio tour were created: in Spanish and in English. Innate to the Spanish language version is Tejada's poetic evocation of Mexican culture. The English version adds the necessary cultural context, through narrator-voiced commentary, to his insights. Original guitar music reflects the mood of each photograph.
In announcing the winners, the team of judges for AAM declared:

"The Getty’s audio tour for the Graciela Iturbide exhibition is near perfect as an aural companion to Iturbide’s enigmatic black and white photography. Just as the photographs seem to tell a story, or to be scenes from within a story, so too does the audio tour create a satisfying narrative arc—tracing the phases of Iturbide’s work from Oaxaca to East Los Angeles to the American South. The instrumental score (which can so often seem an afterthought in audio tours) works beautifully, and was in fact composed for the photography. Another nice touch is that the English and Spanish versions are not direct translations of one another, but differ in content as well as language.”

This year’s MUSE Awards competition received nearly 180 applications from a wide variety of museums in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Entries included audio, cell phone, and interactive handheld tours, interactive kiosks and multimedia installations, podcasts, blogs, games, Web sites, online collection and image databases, videos, and e-mail marketing campaigns.

Award winners were named from ten distinct categories. Thirty-eight judges—museum and media professionals from across the county—were involved in the process of selecting the winners. Winning entries were expected to demonstrate outstanding achievement in content quality; interface design; functionality; production quality; visual appeal; the user’s experience; and the intent to which new directions were charted or old challenges resolved through technical innovation.

The Goat's Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide was sponsored by Banamex.
The award-winning audio about Iturbide's photographs can currently be heard on the Getty Web site at
A complete list of judging criteria and MUSE Award winners can be found on the Media and Technology Web site:

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Julie Jaskol
Getty Communications

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.

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The J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts, and European and American photographs. The Museum's mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.