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Getty Decides to File Appeal of Villa Judicial Ruling

November 1, 2000

Los Angeles--The J. Paul Getty Trust announced today that it will appeal the ruling Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs issued last month regarding plans to renovate the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. In response to a lawsuit filed by Pacific Coast Homeowners and other parties, the judge's ruling invalidated the City's approval process for the Getty Villa, in particular as related to the Getty's proposed outdoor theater. The theater would serve multiple purposes including visitor orientation, outdoor seating, and performances of classical dramas integrally related to the Getty Museum's collection of Greek and Roman antiquities to be housed at the Villa.

Donald Baker, Getty counsel and attorney at Latham & Watkins, said, "We reviewed the judge's decision and reaffirmed the importance of the classical theater program to the educational and artistic mission of the Getty Villa. In light of the unanimous approvals received from the Los Angeles Planning Commission and the Los Angeles City Council that the theater was not only an appropriate use but one compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, we have decided that an appellate review of Judge Janavs' decision is now in order."

Deborah Gribbon, Getty Trust vice president and director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, commented, "This sensitively designed outdoor theater is an integral architectural element in the Villa renovation. It has an essential programmatic aspect--so closely linked were art and theater in ancient Greece and Rome. The Getty has a history of commissioning new translations of Greek and Roman plays in collaboration with local universities and scholars. When performed for contemporary audiences, these plays inform our understanding of ancient culture and all that followed from it. We want to enrich this experience by staging performances in a small theater--exactly the kind of setting that would have been used in ancient times--adjacent to a special gallery that highlights ancient works of art with theatrical themes. The Museum's collections and theatrical program reinforce each other, often treating the same subjects in ways that, taken together, allow visitors to understand the ancient world in all of its human dimensions. The Getty will, of course, abide by all city regulations and conditions to ensure its appropriateness for the neighborhood."

The Judge's decision has caused further unfortunate delay in the reopening of the Getty Villa. The Getty is proceeding in a manner that it believes will minimize additional delays in the project while still achieving essential programmatic goals. The appeal process could take several months, but Ms. Gribbon adds, "This is a plan that should be realized. It will benefit all residents of and visitors to Southern California and represents a major contribution to the growing cultural resources of our region."

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The Getty Villa will occupy a distinctive place among American cultural institutions as the only one dedicated solely to the exhibition and study of Greek and Roman antiquity. The Museum, Research Institute, and Conservation Institute have collaborated to forge an exciting new program for the Villa, focusing upon comparative archaeology and cultures. Like the Getty Center, the Getty Villa is first and foremost an educational facility for the public. While contributing to the cultural life of Los Angeles, its impact will also be felt both nationally and internationally as scholars, students, general visitors, and scientists from throughout the world participate in the Villa's programs and enjoy its remarkable collection.

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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