Getty Museum hires Timothy Potts as new director
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After years of leadership turmoil and turnover, the Getty Museum is ramping up for a new chapter. At an 11:30 staff meeting Tuesday, the relatively new Getty Trust head Jim Cuno announced his decision to hire Timothy Potts as his new museum director, starting Sept. 1.
The position has been vacant since the early 2010 departure of Michael Brand, who had reported to the late James Wood, who died in June 2010. Cuno, who took over Wood’s position as the head of all Getty branches last fall, repeatedly said that hiring a new museum director — one with an “appetite” for big acquisitions — was his top priority.
A Sydney native who early on ran the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia, Potts, 53, is currently the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge in England. He is best known in the U.S. for running the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, from 1998 to 2007, which compares to the Getty Museum in the size of its acquisition budget. During his tenure at the Kimbell, he made several high-profile acquisitions, including Donatello, Michelozzo and Bernini sculptures.
Potts’ expertise is in ancient Near Eastern art, or works from what would now be considered the Middle East. He received his doctorate in that field from the University of Oxford.
“He has all the qualities we need in our next museum director because of his experience running three very different and complementary museums,” Cuno said, adding that ‘his standing in the field of museums is unsurpassed.”
Cuno, just home from a work trip to India, said “the board of trustees affirmed my decision unanimously at a board meeting” in January to hire Potts. He had originally planned to release the news later his week after he had time to unpack, he said, but rushed the announcement after Lee Rosenbaum published a leak Monday on her blog CultureGrrl. Check back here later today for the full story on Potts’ hire.
-- Jori Finkel