an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

Getty Museum&#146s Open Call for “Inspiring Leaders”: Director Application Now Online!

Images from the Getty Museum’s two campuses: Los Angeles (left), Malibu (right)

Want to apply for the vacant directorship of the J. Paul Getty Museum?

Now you can!

Two weeks ago, the online application (who needs a search firm?) for the director of the two-campus Los Angeles/Malibu museum was posted on the Getty’s website. As CultureGrrl readers may remember, the position was precipitously vacated by Michael Brand at the end of January. (Soon after he departed, Michael discussed with CultureGrrl some of the circumstances surrounding his decision to leave.) David Bomford, former associate director for collections, is serving as the Getty’s interim director.

I don’t know whether the Getty Trust has engaged a search firm. I’ve got a query pending and if I learn more, I’ll update.

I guess it took the Getty this long to compose the job description:

This individual will be critical to the success
of the organization, reporting directly to the President, with
responsibility for all Museum activities including budget, acquisition
strategy, and personnel decisions. The position oversees six curatorial
departments—paintings, drawings, photographs, illuminated
manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts and antiquities—educational, and interpretive activities, conservation functions linked
to each collection area, and wide ranging exhibitions, public programs
and publications. The Director has both the opportunity and
responsibility to advance the goals of the Museum in collaboration with
other Trust programs.


The Getty is recruiting a Director who desires a very visible
position, with significant influence, stature, and authority. The
Director will work aggressively to continue the strengthening of our
collections through both purchase and gift, drawing on the scholarly
expertise within the Museum’s established collection areas. We seek a
Director with a commitment to leadership and innovation in the visual
arts and a dedication to diverse local audiences. The ideal candidate
for this position will have, above all, a vision for guiding this museum
within the framework of the Trust, as well as fostering collaboration
with the three other programs, and the ability to implement that vision
for its employees, colleagues and visitors.


We are seeking an inspiring leader, with an
outstanding record, who has the skill to recruit, strengthen, and retain
a staff of professionals while generating positive morale [emphasis added] throughout
the organization. We need a strong colleague, with great passion for
the visual arts who can build relationships and represent the
institution in the international art world. It will be crucial to have
someone who demands extraordinary achievement, who can make tough
decisions while accepting responsibility for them, who maintains an
empathetic perspective with integrity and good humor and communicates
openly with elegance and effectiveness.

“Generating a positive morale”? That would be a nice change after the employee discontent recently aired in the now defunct Silence Dogetty blog.

Compare the Getty’s ideal candidate, if you will, with the job description for Philippe de Montebello‘s successor at the Metropolitan Museum. Applicants for that directorship needed to have “excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to motivate, direct and
hold accountable a highly skilled staff in a notably collegial
environment.” It seems that “positive morale” at the Met was a given, not something needing to be “generated.”

The Met was also looking for someone with serious art knowledge—“passionate connoisseurship with a broad, informed appreciation of art or
the facility to acquire it beyond an area of specialization. [emphasis added]….A doctorate is desirable but not required.” The Getty seeks someone with “great passion for
the visual arts.”

While the search continues, the Getty Trust has just announced a new board chairman, Mark Siegel. He’s a lawyer and founder and president of ReMY Investors and Consultants, as well as board chairman of Patterson-UTI Energy, an
energy services company.

And in other Los Angeles museum governance news: LA MOCA has just announced the election of four new board members, joining eight other recent additions (also listed in the above-linked press release).

an ArtsJournal blog