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- Wikipedia Description: Getty Center
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Getty Center, in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum. The museum's permanent collection includes "pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American and European photographs". Among the works on display is the painting Irises by Vincent van Gogh.
The Center, which opened on December 16, 1997, is also well known for its architecture, gardens, and views (overlooking Los Angeles). Besides the Museum, the Center's buildings house the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the administrative offices of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which owns and operates the Center.
Location and history:
The purchase of the land upon which the Center is located -- a campus of 24 acres (97,000 m2) on a 110-acre (0.45 km2) site in the Santa Monica Mountains above Interstate 405, surrounded by 600 acres (2.4 km2) kept in a natural state -- was announced in 1983. The top of the hill is 900 feet (270 m) above I-405, high enough that on a clear day it is possible to see not only the Los Angeles skyline but also the San Bernardino Mountains to the east as well as the Pacific Ocean to the west.
In 1984, Richard Meier was chosen to be the architect of the Center. After an extensive conditional-use permit process, construction began in August 1989.
The construction was significantly delayed, with the planned completion date moved from 1988 to 1995 (as of 1990). By 1995, however, the campus was described as only "more than halfway complete".
The Center finally opened to the public on December 16, 1997. Although the total project cost was estimated to be $350 million as of 1990, it was later estimated to be $1.3 billion.
Richard Meier has exploited the two naturally occurring ridges (which diverge at a 22.5 degree angle) by overlaying two grids along these axes. These grids serve to define the space of the campus while dividing the import of the buildings on it. Along one axis lie the galleries and along the other axis lie the administrative buildings. The primary grid structure is a 30-inch (760 mm) square; most wall and floor elements are 30-inch (760 mm) squares or some derivative thereof.
The buildings at the Getty Center are made from concrete and steel with either travertine or aluminium cladding.
Throughout the campus, numerous fountains provide white noise as a background. The initial design has remained intact, however benches and fences have been installed around the plaza fountains to discourage visitors from wading into the pools. Some additional revisions have been made in deference to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The north promontory is anchored by a circular grass area which serves as a heliport in case of emergencies, and the south promontory is anchored by a succulent plant and cactus garden.
The museum has a seven-story deep underground parking garage with over 1,200 parking spaces. An automated three-car, cable-pulled tram takes passengers to and from the museum.
The collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum on display at the Getty Center includes "pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American and European photographs". The paintings include:
* Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) by Paul Gauguin (1892). The Museum's director, Michael Brand, stated that the purchase of the painting was “one of the key moments in the history of our collection”. The literal translation of the Tahitian words of the title are "noble" and "sleeping eyes," which implies "death".
* Irises by Vincent Van Gogh (1889). The Museum purchased the painting in 1990; it had sold for $53.9 million in 1987.
* Portrait of a Halberdier by Pontormo (1528-1530). When the Museum bought the painting for $35.2 million at an auction in 1989, "the price more than tripled the previous record at auction for an Old Master painting".
* A copy of Portrait of Louis XIV, which measures 114 x 62-5/8 inches, by the workshop of Hyacinthe Rigaud (after 1701).
The five museum buildings, called pavilions, are North, East, South, West and the Exhibitions Pavilion. The Exhibitions Pavilion acts as the temporary residence for traveling art collections and the Foundation's artwork for which the permanent pavilions have no room. The permanent collection is displayed throughout the other four pavilions chronologically: the North houses the oldest art while the West houses the newest. The first-floor galleries house light-sensitive art, such as illuminated manuscripts, furniture, or photography. Computer-controlled skylights on the second floor galleries allow paintings to be displayed in natural light. The second floors are connected by a series of glass-enclosed bridges and open terraces, both of which offer views of the surrounding hillsides and central plaza.
The 134,000-square-foot (12,400 m2) Central Garden at the Getty Center is the work of artist Robert Irwin. Planning for the garden began in 1992, construction started in 1996, and the garden was completed in December 1997.
Irwin was quoted as saying that the Central Garden "is a sculpture in the form of a garden, which aims to be art". A tree-lined walkway descends to a plaza, while water in a stream criss-crosses the walkway, continues through the plaza, and goes over a stone waterfall into a round pool. A maze of azaleas floats in the pool, around which is a series of specialty gardens. More than 500 varieties of plant material are used for the Central Garden, but the selection is "always changing, never twice the same".
Getty Research Institute (GRI):
The Getty Research Institute (GRI) is "dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts". Among other holdings, GRI's research library contains over 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogs; special collections; and two million photographs of art and architecture. GRI's other activities include exhibitions, publications, and a residential scholars program. At the Getty Center, GRI is located to the west of the museum.
Getty Conservation Institute (GCI):
The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), which is headquartered at the Getty Center but also has facilities at the Getty Villa, commenced operation in 1985. It "serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field" and "adheres to the principles that guide the work of the Getty Trust: service, philanthropy, teaching, and access". GCI has activities in both art conservation and architectural conservation. Its offices are north of the museum.
The Getty Foundation awards grants for "the understanding and preservation of the visual arts". In addition, it runs the Getty Leadership Institute for "current and future museum leaders". Its offices are north of the museum.
J. Paul Getty Trust:
The J. Paul Getty Trust oversees the Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, and J. Paul Getty Museum. Its offices are north of the museum.
Preparation for natural disasters:
Although the Center's site was thought to have little motion during earthquakes which are frequent in the Los Angeles area, in 1994, as the Center was being constructed, the Northridge earthquake struck. It caused "disturbing hairline cracks... in the welds and plated joints of the steel framework". As a result, the steelwork through the site was retrofitted. The Center's buildings are thought to be able to survive an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.
A number of measures were or are taken to help prevent fires at the Center, including:
* In the 16 electrical transformers at the Center, silicone fluid is used as a coolant "with less risk of ignition" than hydrocarbon coolant.
* The native flammable chaparral was removed and fire-resistant poverty weed was added to the slopes around the Center.
* Each year, a herd of goats is rented to clear brush on the surrounding hills.
A number of other measures help to suppress any fires that might occur or to prevent damage from them, including:
* At the north end of the Center, a tank with a million gallons of water, together with a grass-covered helipad, allow helicopters to collect water.
* The access ramp from the entry plaza to the museum was constructed to allow a fire truck to pass over it.
* Inside the museum, the sprinkler system is designed to balance "between the potential damage of a fire and the risk of water damage to valuable artwork"/
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