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Corzo Named Getty Institute Director : Art: A distinguished authority on Mexican art, he will oversee the Getty's worldwide conservation efforts.

November 22, 1990|SUZANNE MUCHNIC | TIMES ART WRITER

Miguel Angel Corzo, president of the Friends of the Arts of Mexico Foundation and organizer of a current landmark exhibition of Mexican art, has been appointed director of the Getty Conservation Institute. Beginning in January, he will lead an 8-year-old organization that promotes art conservation worldwide through scientific research, training, documentation and field projects.

"GCI plays a vital role in raising worldwide awareness of the need to conserve cultural property and thereby maintain lasting artistic and humanistic values. I look forward to the challenge of continuing to build on the institute's impressive record as an international advocate of conservation," Corzo said in a prepared statement.

Corzo succeeds Luis Monreal, who resigned in March to become coordinator of Cultural Heritage Programs for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris, but the newly created position--which was part of UNESCO Director General Federico Mayor Zaragoza's bold reorganization plan--was never ratified, and Monreal is now director general of social and cultural works at La Caixa, a large savings-and-pension fund in Barcelona, Spain. GCI Associate Directors Frank Preusser and Rona Sebastian served as acting directors while the Getty searched for a new chief.

As head of the Friends of the Arts of Mexico Foundation, Corzo organized "Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries," which is currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and will appear at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from Oct. 6 to Dec. 29, 1991. The critically acclaimed historical compendium is the most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican art ever presented in the United States.

Under Corzo's leadership, the Friends of the Arts of Mexico Foundation has also produced television documentaries and exhibited the work of Mexican artists. The foundation's activities in Los Angeles include organizing a symposium on Mexican architecture, held last January, and leading--with GCI--a drive to save "American Tropical" on Olvera Street, the only surviving public mural in the United States by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Corzo's appointment is actually a return to the Getty for the Mexican-born cultural administrator. He served as a consultant and then as director of special projects for the Getty Conservation Institute between 1985 and '87. While working for the institute he organized an archeological conservation conference in Mexico, coordinated conservation efforts in the tomb of Nefertari in Egypt and worked with other projects in Spain, Israel and China.

Even then, Corzo was no stranger to Los Angeles, having received a bachelor of science degree from UCLA. He stayed in the United States for postgraduate studies as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University, where he did research in finance, energy and international politics

Upon his return to Mexico, Corzo served as dean of academic affairs at Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City and taught at several Mexican universities during the early- and mid-'70s. Subsequently he has been a consultant for the Museum of Black African Civilizations in Senegal, the Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Egyptian Civilization.

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