The J. Paul Getty Museum will greatly expand the exhibition space at the Getty Center devoted to photography. Weston Naef, the museum's curator of photographs, said that in addition to expanding the space from 1,700 to 7,000 sq. ft., the museum will increase its commitment to the preservation of color photographs.
The new exhibition space will be located in the museum's West Pavilion. The entrance, newly redesigned by Richard Meier and Partners, will open to a courtyard housing part of the new Stark sculpture collection, while the interior space will be reconfigured to ensure the ideal environment for the display of photographs. This expansion was made possible by the January opening of the Getty Villa in Malibu, and the relocation from the West Pavilion to the Villa of part of the Getty Museum's antiquities collection.
"Photography is a key part of the museum's collection," said Michael Brand, director of the Getty Museum. "Indeed, photography is our most significant link to the art of the 20th century and current art practices, and allowing more space for its display and storage is one of my first goals as the new director."
"Over the past 20 years we have built a loyal and vibrant audience for photographs," said Weston Naef. "This expansion of exhibition space will provide us with more opportunity and flexibility in exhibiting the many and varied elements of our collection. The expansion of storage space will allow us to house large color prints under conditions that maximize their longevity."
The Getty Museum's department of photographs was established in 1984 with the acquisition of several major American and European collections. Since then, the photographs holdings have grown to include over 31,000 works, expanding by 9% in the past five years, largely by gift. The collection--which ranges from daguerreotypes and other examples from photography's experimental beginnings in England and France in the 1830s to the fine art and social documentary traditions of the 20th-century--has made the Getty, and Los Angeles, an important center for the study of the history and art of photography. Over the last 22 years, the department has presented 80 exhibitions and produced 43 publications.
The expanded space will allow the museum to mount a greater range of types of presentations, including loan exhibitions, and will also help foster greater collaboration between the museum and other programs of the J. Paul Getty Trust. The special collections at the Getty Research Institute hold rare historical images and vast photography archives for study purposes. The Getty Conservation Institute is a leader in research on the conservation of photographs.