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Thomas Crow Named Director of Getty Research Institute

Renowned Yale University Art Historian Returns to Southern California

February 14, 2000

LOS ANGELES--Barry Munitz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the J. Paul Getty Trust, today announced the appointment of Thomas Crow as Director of the Getty Research Institute. Currently chair of the Yale University Department of the History of Art, where he is also Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art, Crow is internationally recognized as one of the most influential art historians working in academia today. Since 1977 he has held teaching positions at California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Princeton University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and University of Sussex, England; he came to Yale in 1996. His appointment to the Getty Research Institute puts him in charge of one of the world’s largest research centers for art history, comprised of an 800,000-volume library, an expanding collection of primary source material for art historians, an active visiting scholars program, and public programs including exhibitions, lectures, seminars, and conferences.

"A dynamic scholar, teacher, and administrator, Tom’s original thinking and fresh insights have invigorated the field of art history," said Munitz. "His appointment as Director of the Getty Research Institute underscores our commitment to intellectual leadership in the field and to serving the entire enterprise of education and scholarship in the visual arts. Tom joins a talented team of colleagues at the Research Institute and across the Getty. Together they will build on the Getty’s collaborative relationships with other academic institutions here in Southern California--USC, UCLA and other UC campuses, Cal State, the Claremont Colleges--as well as nationally and internationally. Tom will also work with other Getty programs as an advisor on our scholarly publications, research grants and conservation projects."

Crow will work closely with senior Getty staff including the Research Institute’s Associate Director Michael Roth and its recently appointed Chief Librarian Susan Allen; the Director and Deputy Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, John Walsh and Deborah Gribbon; the Director of the Conservation Institute, Timothy Whalen; and the Director of the Grant Program, Deborah Marrow.

Commenting on the appointment, Nancy Troy, Chair of the Art History Department at the University of Southern California, said, "Tom Crow is a truly distinguished figure of international stature who will make an enormous contribution to what is already a lively culture of the visual arts in Southern California. He will play a leadership role in making the Getty Research Institute a focal point for intellectual discourse in the region."

Born near Chicago in 1948, Crow and his family settled in San Diego, California in 1961. He earned his B.A. at Pomona College in Claremont, graduating Magna cum laude in 1969, and went on to complete his Ph.D. in the History of Art at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978. He has served as a member of the Visiting Committee, an international advisory group of scholars, for the Getty Research Institute since 1997 and in 1999 was named a visiting Distinguished Getty Scholar.

"As an advisor to the Research Institute over the last year or so, I’ve had the chance to see its workings from the inside in all of their complexity and extraordinary potential," said Crow from his home in Connecticut. "Housed in one remarkable building are all of the elements that advance our understanding of the visual arts, from the rare primary documents in special collections to the most advanced philosophical reflection on the arts as vehicles of knowledge, thought, and feeling---with everything in between. I want to strengthen every link in that chain, drawing together the combined talents of our resident staff and the visiting scholars and artists who come to the Getty from all over the world. Equally exciting to me is the emergence of Los Angeles as an art scene second to none, with an amazing array of practicing artists, scholars, critics, curators, and students for whom I want the Research Institute to serve as a meeting ground and continual stimulus to exchange and debate."

A prolific author, Crow has published five books including the recent, critically acclaimed The Intelligence of Art (1999). "This short but flawlessly written and intricately argued book offers a profoundly challenging critique of the current state of art history," wrote Roger Malbert in The Times Literary Supplement. "It will be essential reading in postgraduate seminars and should contribute to the revitalization of [the] discipline...."

Crow’s influential 1996 book, Modern Art in the Common Culture, examined the strong and even necessary connection between modern art and popular mass culture. Arthur C. Danto, also writing for The Times Literary Supplement, called Modern Art in the Common Culture, "Far and away the most searching and important book in the philosophy and history of art to have appeared in the past decade." Sarah Wilson, in The Art Newspaper, commented that "His voice has a rare moral authority in the field of art history today--."

Crow is a contributing editor, since 1993, to Artforum magazine, and from 1994 to 1997 served on the editorial board of the journal Art History.

James Cuno, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums, said, "A leading scholar of his generation, Tom Crow will bring his learning and intelligence, as well as his many international and interdisciplinary connections, to the directorship of the Getty Research Institute. His books on David and Girodet are fundamental for anyone wishing to learn about the production of art in Paris following the revolution of 1789, just as his criticism of post-War American art has advanced our understanding of the significance of the relations and distinctions between the so-called high and low arts."

Salvatore Settis, former Director of the Getty Research Institute (1994-99), said, "I am delighted with the Getty’s decision. Tom Crow is an exceptional scholar who will carry on the values and important mission of the Research Institute. He has been closely involved with the Research Institute for several years and brings a commitment to the institution that bodes well for its future." Last year Settis returned to his position as Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, where he now serves as Director.

The announcement of Crow’s appointment follows an extensive year-long search. Deborah Marrow, Director of the Getty Grant Program, has served as Interim Director of the Getty Research Institute since Settis’s departure in January 1999. Marrow will resume her responsibilities as Grant Program Director full time, and Crow will assume the Research Institute directorship, in July. Crow’s wife, Catherine Phillips, and two of their children will move with him to Los Angeles. Phillips, a horticulturist, currently serves as assistant to the director of the Marsh Botanical Garden at Yale University.

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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 Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library - housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier - is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library's special collections include rare books, artists' journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.