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Conservation Matters: Lectures at the Getty
New Lectures Begin January 20, 2005

December 16, 2004

Los Angeles—The Getty's free public lecture series, Conservation Matters: Lectures at the Getty, continues in 2005 with five talks beginning January 20 and continuing through May.  This signature series of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) features an expert lineup of international speakers who will bring attention to some of the most pressing issues facing the conservation of art and historic sites today, and offer insight into key preservation efforts going on around the world. The diverse range of topics will appeal to conservation professionals and the general public alike.

The first lecture will examine the critical situation in Venice, Italy, where scientists are urging immediate protective action to save the city and its priceless history from the encroaching tides. In February, the series turns its attention to the Middle East with an examination of the destruction and looting of archeological sites in war-torn Iraq. Following that will be a lecture on the authenticity and meaning behind paneled rooms in American and European museums, which were originally conceived to offer a nostalgic "walk through time." In April, the series shifts to modern-day Bombay (Mumbai), with a discussion of how conservation principles relate to ephemeral environments. The series concludes by looking at vital neighborhoods in England whose potential has been tapped by embracing their historic environment.

Speakers include Anna Somers Cocks, founder of The Art Newspaper and chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund; Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, an archaeologist-turned-journalist who was in Baghdad shortly after the fall of the city; Brian Considine, conservator of decorative arts and sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum, who oversaw the preparation of the collection, including four paneled rooms, for the move to the Getty Center in 1997; Rahul Mehrotra, a Bombay-based urban designer and founder of the conservation architecture practice The Bombay Collaborative; and Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage and former director of the National Museum of Science and Industry in the United Kingdom.

Conservation Matters: Lectures at the Getty is the Getty Conservation Institute's public lecture series and an integral part of the GCI's commitment to the community. The series helps to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of preserving artworks and historic sites, safeguarding the rich variety of cultural and artistic heritage found around the world. The international conservation community also looks to the GCI for its many resources, including the on-site GCI Information Center, which holds approximately 25,000 volumes and over 500 periodicals; the comprehensive database AATA Online: Abstracts of International Conservation Literature; and a variety of publications. The GCI also offers a guest scholars program for conservators, scientists, and professionals in conservation and allied fields, and conservation internships available through the Getty Graduate Internship Program.  For more information about the GCI please visit

2005 Schedule: Conservation Matters: Lectures at the Getty
Unless otherwise noted, all lectures take place in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at the Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. Lectures are free; reservations are required. To make reservations, call 310-440-7300 or visit

Thursday, January 20, 2005, 7 p.m.
Venice Can Be Saved from the Waves If…

The recent sight of tourists in Venice donning rubber boots and wading through flooded streets was a dramatic reminder of the danger that rising tides pose to the fragile city. Anna Somers Cocks, founding editor of The Art Newspaper and chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, will speak about the threats to Venice and some of the proposed solutions for saving this unique World Heritage site.

Tuesday, February 8, 2004, 7 p.m., Museum Lecture Hall
Mesopatamia Endgangered—Witnessing the Loss of History

The war in Iraq and its ongoing aftermath have dealt a catastrophic blow to the country's cultural heritage. Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, a journalist and former archaeologist who was in Baghdad shortly after the fall of the city, will speak on the looting and destruction of archeological sites in Iraq.

Thurday, March 17, 2005, 7 p.m.
Paneled Rooms: Museum Objects or "Life-Style Environments"?

Originally conceived as a nostalgic "walk through time," paneled rooms in museums have evolved into a topic of rigorous archival scholarship and technical study. Brian Considine, decorative arts conservator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, looks at the installation of paneled rooms in American and European museums and addresses their authenticity, conservation, and meaning.

Thursday, April 21, 2005, 7 p.m.
Bazaars in Victorian Arcades: Conserving Bombay's Historic Fort Area

Contemporary urban India consists of two realities: the static, represented by its architecture and monuments; and the kinetic, a constant parade of spectacles that form a temporal memory. Rahul Mehrotra, urban designer, discusses the challenges of conservation in a bewildering landscape where modernity and tradition live side-by-side.

Thursday, May 19, 2005, 7 p.m.
Building Communities through Heritage

Can embracing a neighborhood's historical environment lead to economic viability?  Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage, will discuss how recent work in England, undertaken as part of a wide-ranging review of protection and management of the historic environment, demonstrates that support for heritage preservation is widespread and is increasingly seen as a key to sustainable communities.

About the Speakers

Anna Somers Cocks
Anna Somers Cocks was a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1973 to 1986. She was then editor in chief of Apollo Magazine for three years. In 1990 she founded The Art Newspaper, and in 2003 became general editorial director of the parent company, the Italian publishers Umberto Allemandi. She is chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, the British committee for the safeguarding of Venice, and a trustee of the Gilbert Collection and the Cass Sculpture Foundation. In 2003 she was
made a Commendatore of the Ordine della Stella di Solidarieta' Italiana by the Italian government for her services to Venice.

Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly
Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly is an archaeologist-turned-journalist who has lectured on Middle-Eastern cultural heritage issues for several years. As an archaeologist, Farchakh Bajjaly worked in expeditions to Syria and Beirut. As a reporter, she covered the state of archaeological sites not only in Iraq, but also in neighboring Syria and her homeland of Lebanon. She has written extensively for Archaeology, Archaeologia, and L'Orient-Le Jour, and worked on documentaries for the French-German television show Arte, National Geographic Television, and Al-Arabia satellite television.

Brian Considine
Brian Considine has been active in the decorative arts field for over 30 years. After studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, he learned furniture making and operated his own studio furniture making and restoration firm until joining the furniture conservation department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1980. He joined the department of decorative arts conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1983 and moved to Paris in 1984 to study the conservation of gilt-wood at the Atelier Goujon and marquetry at the Ecole Boulle. He was named conservator of decorative arts and sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1988 and oversaw the preparation of the collection, including four paneled rooms, for the move of the Museum to the Getty Center.

Rahul Mehrotra
Rahul Mehrotra is an urban designer who has written and lectured extensively on architecture, conservation, and urban planning for the city of Bombay (Mumbai). Mehrotra studied at the School of Architecture, Ahemedabad (India) and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. The built work of his architectural firm includes an orphanage for Children of the World in New Bombay, the D.J. Institute of Management in Coimbatore (India), and an extension of the Prince of Wales Museum in Bombay. In 1995 he founded The Bombay Collaborative, a conservation architecture practice, which works with historic buildings in Bombay as well as with consultants to organizations and various neighborhood and citizen groups in Bombay.

Sir Neil Cossons
Chairman of English Heritage since April 2000, Sir Neil has been working in museums and in cultural heritage for over four decades. From 1986 to 2000 he was the director of the National Museum of Science and Industry in the United Kingdom. Prior to that, he was the director of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for 12 years, after serving as the first director of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum in Shropshire. A leading authority on industrial archaeology, he has published and lectured widely on this topic.

Mike Winder
Getty Communications Department

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