I managed to convince a friend to take a trip up to the Getty Center. I made a trip before with the girl and her friend, but when led by two 5th graders, I didn't get to check out a lot of the pavilions. After going through it, I have to say that for such a richly endowed museum, I'm a little surprised how sparsely curated it is. On the other hand, it makes for a very doable day visit. This piece struck me the most:
It's called "Christ and the Adulteress" by Valentin de Boulogne (French, 1591-1632). It's the scene from the Bible, where an adulteress is brought to Jesus to confirm that she should be stoned. And Jesus writes on the ground and says, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." First, one of my favorite Biblical stories rebuking self-righteousness as righteousness. Second, I'm fascinated by the use of light in this painting. The informational placard says the artist was influenced by the dramatic light and realism of Caravaggio and I'm drawn in, not only to the dramatic lights on Jesus and the Adulteress but also the state of dress and body language of the Adulteress. Finally, I just love the composition overall of innocence and judgment, dark and light, and cruelty and hope.
The other piece which grabbed my attention was this 1950 sculpture "Angel of the Citadel" by Marino Marini (1901-1980). I love that this had a sign that said "Do Not Enter" because I could see all sorts of great photo ops ranging from oblivious parents putting their kid on the horsey to a clever hipster mimicking it saying "so EXCITED to be here!"
The exhibit that my friend and I were struck by the most was a temporary photography exhibit by Carrie Mae Weems entitled "From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried" where she overlaid 19th century African-American portraits with a powerful and, at times, poignant, narrative. Wish there was a catalog or that they allowed pictures--I highly recommend it if you can make it up there before the exhibit leaves March 11, 2012.
But frankly the best part of the Getty Center is the Center itself. The architecture and gardens are amazing and then, there's the view of LA:
And it's pretty awesome when the sun goes down too: