Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Getty Center

July 27, 1993

As a current guest scholar, I read today's report on the Getty Center, "Pampered but Not Pleased" (July 15), with great interest. It struck me, however, that many of the criticisms leveled at the center are peripheral, the sort of stock responses periodically made against most public institutions other than the Red Cross. If potential scholars have problems with the concept of the Getty Center, they could always turn down an invitation. On the other hand, the subtext of the article seemed to be that academics were only productive if chained to their desks, which is not enlightening.

From my own experience of research centers in Europe, I think the Getty Center may be overly optimistic in structuring its scholarly intake around a given theme like "the metropolis." For one thing, not all the best people for such a subject will be available at the same time; for another, people may be invited who have no obvious research purposes suitable to an extended stay here. Throwing the program open to public competition would arguably produce a more diverse and stimulating mix of personalities. The J. Paul Getty Museum already operates a guest scholar program along these lines by inviting curators and academics to submit a project for a three-month grant. The project is then approved by a committee before the scholar is officially designated. I have known many colleagues who have participated in the guest scholar program, and all have found the first-hand experience of Los Angeles, its museums and libraries, extremely beneficial. Long may it continue.

BRUCE BOUCHER

Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|