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March 14, 2006

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum, which holds one of the world’s preeminent collections of photographs, announced today that it will greatly expand the exhibition space at the Getty Center devoted to this important art form. Weston Naef, the Museum’s curator of photographs, said that in addition to expanding the space from 1,700 to 7,000 square feet, the Museum will increase its commitment to the preservation of color photographs.

The new exhibition space will be located in the Museum’s West Pavilion. The entrance, newly redesigned by Richard Meier and Partners, will open to a courtyard housing part of the new Stark sculpture collection, while the interior space will be reconfigured to ensure the ideal environment for the display of photographs. This expansion was made possible by the January opening of the Getty Villa in Malibu, and the relocation from the West Pavilion to the Villa of part of the Getty Museum’s antiquities collection.

"Photography is a key part of the Museum’s collection," said Michael Brand, director of the Getty Museum.  "Indeed, photography is our most significant link to the art of the 20th century and current art practices, and allowing more space for its display and storage is one of my first goals as the new director."

"Over the past twenty years we have built a loyal and vibrant audience for photographs," said Weston Naef. "This expansion of exhibition space will provide us with more opportunity and flexibility in exhibiting the many and varied elements of our collection.  The expansion of storage space will allow us to house large color prints under conditions that maximize their longevity."

The Getty Museum’s department of photographs was established in 1984 with the acquisition of several major American and European collections. Since then, the photographs holdings have grown to include over 31,000 works, expanding by 9 percent in the past five years, largely by gift.  The collection—which ranges from daguerreotypes and other examples from photography’s experimental beginnings in England and France in the 1830s to the fine art and social documentary traditions of the 20th century—has made the Getty, and Los Angeles, an important center for the study of the history and art of photography. Over the last 22 years, the department has presented 80 exhibitions and produced 43 publications.

The department’s work is supported by the Photographs Council, a group that assists with the development of the collection and related special projects. The new photographs space will open this fall with a major exhibition of more than 160 photographs, drawn from gifts to the Getty Museum from Los Angeles collectors and Photographs Council members Bruce and Nancy Berman. Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection will feature the work of 24 important contemporary American photographers which were donated to the Getty by the Bermans, who have given over 450 examples of postwar American photography to the Museum’s department of photographs since 1998.

"We have been longtime proponents of the Getty Museum’s department of photographs,” said Bruce Berman. The new space underscores the department’s ongoing commitment to developing one of the finest and most comprehensive photographs collections in the world."

The expanded space will allow the Museum to mount a greater range of types of presentations, including loan exhibitions, and will also help foster greater collaboration between the Museum and other programs of the J. Paul Getty Trust. The special collections at the Getty Research Institute hold rare historical images and vast photography archives for study purposes. The Getty Conservation Institute is a leader in research on the conservation of photographs. The Getty Museum’s collection also includes Greek and Roman antiquities; European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts.

Current photography exhibitions include an exhibition of Robert Adams works, Landscapes of Harmony and Dissonance on view through May 28, 2006. This presentation showcases photographs Adams has made over the past 40 years, which capture the blight and beauty of the landscape of the American West.

Visitors to Courbet and the Modern Landscape—the first major exhibition to address Gustave Courbet’s pivotal achievements in landscape painting—can also see a selection of 19th-century French photographs from the Museum’s collection and a group of objects from the Research Library’s special collections. Courbet and the Modern Landscape is on view through May 14, 2006.

Also on view at the Getty Center this spring are the Getty Museum's rare holdings of photographs by the French painter Edgar Degas.  The largest group of photographs outside of France by an artist better known for his work in pastel, the Getty pictures add an unusual dimension to the show Degas at the Getty (through June 11, 2006).  This display of drawings, paintings, pastel, and photographs celebrates two important recent acquisitions: "Miss Lala at the Fernando Circus" and "The Milliners."

On view in the Getty Research Institute’s Exhibition Gallery from February 21–June 25, 2006, are works by the highly influential photomontage artist, John Heartfield. Agitated Images: John Heartfield and German Photomontage, 1920–1938, focuses on Heartfield’s success at creating a politically engaged visual rhetoric during the interwar period.

At the Getty Villa, photographs from the collections of both the Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute are featured in the exhibition Antiquity and Photography: Early Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites, through May 1, 2006.

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Beth Brett
Getty Communications Department

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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