Architecture and Urban Lecture Series 2012-2013
Former Director, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Richard Weinstein Lecture
Monday, February 11, 2013
Perloff Hall, Decafe, UCLA Campus
John Walsh came to the Getty in 1983 at the invitation of President and CEO Harold M. Williams. He had been a paintings curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and had taught at Columbia and Harvard. At the time of his arrival, the Getty Museum was housed in the reconstructed Roman villa built for J. Paul Getty near Pacific Palisades. Income from Getty's bequest (then $1.2 billion) had just become available, and the Museum under Walsh began a massive campaign of buying works of art, strengthening the staff, and the planning and construction of a new museum and other facilities designed by Richard Meier. More than 4,200 art objects were acquired, along with some 70,000 photographs, which comprise the great majority of the works that Getty visitors see in permanent collection galleries and changing exhibitions. In addition, the number of exhibitions, educational programs, and publications all expanded dramatically, and the staff grew. During this same time Walsh continued to build his reputation as a scholar and a writer, publishing the monograph Jan Steen: The Drawing Lesson (1996), part of the Getty Museum Studies on Art series, as well as numerous articles. He has taught at Yale and is widely acknowledged as an authoritative voice on the often tense relation between museum architects and their curatorial clients.