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August 10, 2004

 LOS ANGELES—The redesigned Family Room at the Getty Center opens to the public on Tuesday, August 10, 2004, introducing a fresh approach to experiencing art for kids and their parents. The innovative space is equipped with a unique assortment of discovery "coves" and treasure-hunt walls with specially developed activities and interactive features that allow families to play and learn together.

 "Our new Family Room will be an integral part of any family's visit to the Getty Center," says Peggy Fogelman, assistant director for education and interpretive programs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. "The activities in the room bring the Getty's collection into focus for families, offering them dynamic ways of exploring and interacting with a range of images, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary photographs. Kids and adults can create their own art and discover new ideas together, and that shared experience will enhance a visit to our galleries."

 In the new Family Room, kids can relax and read on a luxurious bed just like an 18th-century French aristocrat, fill in the blank parts of a wall-sized illuminated manuscript page with their own designs, build a tube sculpture inspired by Martin Puryear's installation at the Getty Center, take their place in a parade scene from a James Ensor painting, explore David Hockney's photography with camera lenses and a wall of mirrors, and much more. Then there are the treasure-hunt walls that hug the entire room, with intriguing and unexpected details of over 70 objects in the Getty's collection to discover through peepholes and then hunt for in the galleries.

 The educational features and activities in the new Family Room were developed by a collaborative team composed of experts at the Getty and Predock_Frane Architects, an L.A.-based firm selected to design the room after an extensive search and two-phased competition. The previous Family Room, closed in May of this year for renovation, concentrated on portraiture. The redesigned Family Room focuses on a greater range of the Getty's holdings, with each of the five coves concentrating on one area of the Museum’s collection: paintings, drawings and manuscripts, decorative arts, sculpture, and photographs. Families will have the freedom to roam and explore as they like. Together, the activities in the Family Room will allow kids and parents to engage in a hands-on examination of art from the 15th century to the present. It will be an important and fun stop for families visiting the Getty Center.

 The Family Room is located in the Museum courtyard adjacent to the East Pavilion. It is open daily during regular Museum hours. Information in the room is offered in English and Spanish.


Treasure-Hunt Walls: Compared with the large-scale works featured in the five coves, the treasure-hunt walls encircling the Family Room offer visitors a chance to look at art on a much smaller scale. Covered with nearly 70 peepholes at different heights, the walls invite families to take a closer look at details of works from the Getty’s collection. Kids will be encouraged to roam the galleries on a treasure hunt to identify and find some of the artworks spied in the peepholes.

Paintings cove: The paintings cove features a translucent, almost life-sized reproduction of James Ensor's Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889 (1888), with holes cut at various heights for families to insert their faces into the crowd in Ensor's work. There will also be a mask-making station. Kids will experience Ensor's fascination with masks and surrealistic distortion by creating their own masks and then placing themselves within Ensor's composition of a crowded parade scene.

Drawings and Manuscripts cove: This cove features one drawing and one illuminated manuscript from the Getty’s collection. Families will be invited to look closely at an enlarged reproduction of Jan van Kessel's Butterflies, Insects, and Currants (about 1650–1655) and trace smaller reproductions of the artist's drawings of specimens that are embedded in a light table. The opposite wall of the cove features a large-scale image of an illuminated manuscript page from a prayer book created around 1420, with some areas of text and image left blank. Visitors will be able to fill in the missing portions of the manuscript with their own words and designs using erasable markers. A facsimile of the actual miniature manuscript is embedded in the wall and viewable through a glass window to give families a sense of the scale at which medieval manuscript illuminators worked.

Decorative Arts cove: The cove dedicated to decorative arts features a cozy space inspired by Bed (Lit à la Polonaise), made in France around 1775–1780, now in the Getty's collection. Families can climb into bed, feel the sumptuous fabric, touch the luxurious bolsters, and get a taste of what life was like for a French aristocrat in the 18th century. While relaxing in luxury, parents and kids can also read books about beds across time, place, and culture.

Sculpture cove: The sculpture cove is based on the work of sculptor Martin Puryear, whose 45-feet-tall installation That Profile (1999) can be seen on the tram arrival plaza of the Getty Center. Lightweight and bendable foam tubes are made to fit into a grid of holes in the three walls of this cove, enabling families to create large-scale sculptural forms. To lend context and inspiration, a large-scale photograph of Puryear's work will be spread across the three walls. The holes extend from ankle level all the way up to the height of an adult arm's reach, encouraging families to collaborate in the building process.

Photographs cove: The cove focused on photographs allows visitors to step into David Hockney's Pearblossom Hwy., 11–18th April 1986, #2, a photographic collage. One wall features a mosaic of rear-view type mirrors that can be adjusted. Opposite the mirrored wall is a large-scale reproduction of Hockney's work, so that families can see themselves, fragmented and distorted, inside the manipulated Pearblossom highway scene. On the outer wall of the cove, different photographic lenses trained on Hockney's work enable families to experiment with viewing as a photographer might.

Note to editors: Images available on request.

Magdalene Sim
Getty Communications Dept.

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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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