The Critical Eye
by, Phil Tarley

Robert Polidori Photographs Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Getty Museum

The Getty Museum is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Getty Center in 1977. An exhibition of 20 works by photographer Robert Polidori (Canadian-French-American, born 1951). Robert Polidori: 20 Photographs of the Getty Museum, 1997 is the first public exhibition of photographs showing the first installation of the Getty Center in the month leading up to its opening in December 1997.

“As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Getty Center this December, this exhibition provides an opportunity to reflect upon the creation of this remarkable complex of buildings and the evolution of the Getty Center’s programs. Polidori’s artfully composed images are not only an important historical record but also a revealing insight into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the preparation and installation of our exhibitions and displays,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

“The labors made semi-evident in these photographs—showing brief glimpses of seemingly chaotic states, slowly evolving towards a structured order, resembling tableaus and portraying scenes seen as occurring behind a curtain—were attempts on my part to bring some phenomenological trace, as well as psychological depth, to a subject matter that essentially is usually invisible: the portraiture of the curatorial act,” says Robert Polidori.

Throughout the next few months, the Getty Center will host a number of events highlighting the anniversary, including podcasts and lectures, culminating in a Family Festival in May.

Robert Polidori: 20 Photographs of the Getty Museum, 1997 is on view December 12, 2017–May 6, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Amanda Maddox, associate curator in the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs.

Additional information is available at www.getty.edu.

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Phil Tarley is a fellow of the American Film Institute and a member of the Photographic Arts Council. Tarley writes about contemporary art and pop culture and curates photography for the AC Gallery, in Los Angeles. His book, Going Down on Cuba: Notes from an Underground Traveler, is slated for publication by Fabrik Press in 2018.

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