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Fall 2009

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In This Issue:

Are Scholarly Catalogues Ready for the Web?

Renewed Focus on Mosaics Conservation

Connecting Scholars Around the Globe

USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program

A C C E S S   T O   C O L L E C T I O N S

Are Scholarly Catalogues Ready for the Web?
Nine institutions, including the Getty Museum, make up pilot project

When art museums first emerged in Europe, many offered a simple printed catalogue of their collections. By the end of World War II, those catalogues developed into the sophisticated volumes you see today. These meticulously researched and often lavishly illustrated books are critical to the understanding and interpretation of museum collections. Their print form, however, is arguably the very element that limits their accessibility.

Online publication offers the potential of global engagement with museum collections. Scholars can stay up-to-date on revisions to the scholarly material and follow direct links to primary and secondary resources, ranging from archival documentation, to audio and video interviews with artists and curators, to technical conservation information. The Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative aims to unlock this potential for online publishing. Throughout the development process, participating museums will gather to discuss their progress, address challenges, and disseminate their findings to the larger museum community.

Learn more about the initiative and the eight projects funded by the Foundation.

Vase of Flowers, Jan Davidsz de Heem, c. 1660, oil on canvas.
Vase of Flowers, Jan Davidsz de Heem, c. 1660, oil on canvas.
Photo courtesy of the Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington


Renewed Focus on Mosaics Conservation
Initiative aims to build and strengthen the field

Composed of small pieces of colored marble, stone, glass, and shell and depicting scenes from domestic, imperial, and religious life, mosaics are an important resource for understanding Roman culture as it spread through the Mediterranean. Past archeological and conservation practices had recommended removing mosaics and transporting them to museums for safe-keeping. Current practices leave mosaics in situ, or in place. Unfortunately, both methods can be harmful. Many mosaics moved to museums were damaged during removal or subjected to harmful conservation techniques such as reinforced concrete backing. Mosaics left in situ are often unsheltered, suffering deterioration from exposure to the elements, looters, and tourists.

The Mosaikon initiative—a collaboration among the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, and the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics—aims to reverse the trend of inadequate care and not enough qualified conservators. The Foundation will support training programs in North Africa and the Middle East, help strengthen the field through improved dissemination of lessons learned, and encourage new conservation techniques more suited to the local environment.

Read on about the Mosaikon initiative and follow the project.

Trainee stabilizing the edge of a mosaic
Trainee stabilizing the edge of a mosaic by resetting detached tesserae at Maison des Nymphes, Nabeul, Tunisia.
Photo: Elsa Bourguignon

A R T   H I S T O R Y

Connecting Scholars Around the Globe
Regional seminars foster greater information exchange

Since the early 1990s, the Getty Foundation has supported numerous opportunities to help the best scholars engage with one another across regional and international borders. This kind of engaged scholarship ultimately shapes the interpretations of art, from classroom teaching to museum exhibitions. And in countries that have often been isolated from academic interactions within the field, young scholars are searching for ways to build the discipline of art history in their home countries.

This summer the Foundation funded the initial phase of an ambitious project focused around the theme "Art, Space, and Mobility in the Early Ages of Globalization." The program, which recently accepted applications for six non-residential fellowships, not only fosters individual research but also brings together projects to explore the bigger picture. Participants, from the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and Indian subcontinent, will regularly convene with colleagues from Europe and North America through seminars and workshops. Over the course of the year, they will explore and discuss the ways visual arts shaped the connections and relationships among their home cultures between A.D. 400 and 1650.

Read more on the theme year.

Map of Mediterranean region
Sites connecting the research seminars organized by the Kunsthistorisches Institut (plus Los Angeles, not shown)


USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
Six Journalists Selected for Fellowships in LA

Beginning on November 1, six journalism fellows, selected out of a pool of applicants from 24 states and 16 foreign countries, will begin an intensive three-week program focusing on the visual arts and architecture of Los Angeles. Every year, the program brings together mid-career journalists in Los Angeles for sessions with artists, curators, theater directors, arts administrators, scholars, and funders, as well as top critics, editors, and reporters from print, broadcast, and online journalism. Begun in 2002 with funding from the Getty and support from the USC Annenberg School for Communication, this unique program is designed to improve the reach and quality of arts coverage and related policy issues.

This year's fellows are: Joshua Samuel Brown, a freelance writer and photo journalist based in Asia; Barbara Celis, a reporter, blogger, and filmmaker who covers art for El Pais; Kelly Klaasmeyer, editor and critic for online magazine Glasstire; Neda Ulaby, writer and editor for National Public Radio; Randall Roberts, editor and music critic at LA Weekly; and Matthew Westwood, writer and editor of The Australian.

Learn more about USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program and read more about the 2009 fellows.

USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program fellows visit Frank Gehry's studio in Santa Monica
USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program fellows visit Frank Gehry's studio in Santa Monica, 2003

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Mission Statement
The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the greater understanding and preservation of the visual arts in Los Angeles and throughout the world. Through strategic grant initiatives, it strengthens art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections, and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts. It carries out its work in collaboration with the other Getty Programs to ensure that they individually and collectively achieve maximum effect.
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