The Getty Trust has outlived its usefulness


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Last month a ‘help wanted’ ad appeared on the J. Paul Getty Trust’s website. Amid listings seeking an HVAC technician, a security officer and an audio-visual specialist came four succinct paragraphs, starting with this description:

The Trust is currently seeking a Director for its Museum. The individual will be critical to thesuccess of the organization, reporting directly to the President, with responsibility for all Museum activities including budget, acquisition strategy and personnel decisions.


The ad is still posted on the website -- together with a risible invitation to apply online, which no credible candidate is likely to do. Unusually for such a major job, an outside executive search firm is not being retained.

It confirms something I’ve been thinking for a while. Although the Getty Trust might have a candidate in mind, it should abandon the director search. Instead, the institution’s creaking, obsolete governing structure needs to be reorganized.

Simply put, the Trust format has outgrown its usefulness. It plainly doesn’t work, and it deserves a decent burial. To find out why, read my full story in Sunday’s Arts & Books.

--Christopher Knight

Follow Times art critic Christopher Knight on Twitter: @KnightLAT

The exhibitions pavilion of the Getty Museum at the Getty Center. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times