Is there a power vacuum at the Getty? Not where Thomas Gaehtgens is involved
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This year the Getty suffered a double blow: the sudden resignation of museum director Michael Brand and the unexpected death of Getty Trust president James Wood. Some observers were quick to talk about a power vacuum.
They clearly don’t know Thomas Gaehtgens, who was handpicked by Wood to be director of the Getty Research Institute in 2007. In his three years at the helm, Gaehtgens has quietly but powerfully established himself as one of the institution’s most effective leaders.
His ability to ‘make allies and not enemies has been essential,’ says one staffer. ‘He has put research back at the core of the Research Institute,’ says another.
Some employees even wonder whether trustees are considering him for the top job once held by Wood. “I know that people are talking, but I have not been officially asked about it,” Gaehtgens says, adding quickly: “I’m an art historian -- I’m not interested in the job. I’m not leaving the GRI.”
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