The Getty Center in Los Angeles was in the news recently when the Skirball Fire passed near by, making for dramatic visuals but, as a recent article explained, keeping the artworks inside safe in the highly protected building. A new show on view there celebrates the building’s twentieth anniversary this year. “Robert Polidori: 20 Photographs of the Getty Museum, 1997” is on view until May 6, 2018. The show features images that Polidori made shortly before the complex opened in December, 1997. The images were originally shot for a New Yorker assignment, and selected from about 60 photos made with a large format camera and Kodak Vericolor film that show the space’s gardens, entrance hall and galleries.
As the museum explains, Polidori had to lobby for access to the interior galleries, where artwork was still being installed. The result is an intimate view of the space that few people see. Says Polidori in a statement, “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.”