As the Getty Center’s 10th Anniversary draws to an end, so does this blog. For almost a year I have listened to your conversations on the Web about the place and what we do here. What have I learned?
Perhaps I am most struck by the quantity, quality, and variety of photographs that visitors post. And how often people talk about the unique beauty of this place. It takes them by surprise. Perhaps one doesn’t often go to a museum expecting to be overwhelmed by its physical setting, the quality of light, architecture, and gardens.
Conversely, it is rarer to find visitors who write about the art. I’ve thought a lot about that. Is it because art is visual and therefore difficult (or unnecessary?) to put the thought and emotions it evokes into words? Or perhaps some are intimidated by art? I don’t know.
On the other hand, several visitors have remarked that when they looked at Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises, they cried. They almost never say why. Is it because they know about the artist’s melancholy life? Do viewers feel a special, physical relationship with Van Gogh because his brushstrokes are so passionately there? Do they think: “Van Gogh was right here: right in front of this canvas, just like I am now.” Is there a trace of immortality in that?
And if they were as familiar with the stories behind other works of art, would there be more conversations?
As the economic crisis has deepened, there have been more comments about the Getty Center providing solace. For a little while one can be on a high hill, overlook Los Angeles, and regain a bit of perspective. I wonder how many of our visitors are thinking like this one:
If you spend enough time walking around here, you may temporarily forget that you are unemployed, the economy is a mess and it is three o’ clock in the afternoon on Tuesday.
Thanks, all, for sharing your thoughts with us this year. We look forward to many conversations with you in the future.