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Getty research director takes NYU professorship

October 25, 2006|Christopher Reynolds | Times Staff Writer

The J. Paul Getty Trust, on the hunt for a new president since February, now has another high-level opening to fill.

Thomas Crow, director of the Getty Research Institute, told colleagues Tuesday that he's heading east to become a professor of modern art history at New York University's influential Institute of Fine Arts.

"I had always thought I would carry on at the Getty as long as I was able," Crow said, adding that "I probably wouldn't have seriously considered any other academic offer."

But the NYU position, he said, offers "the purest kind of opportunity" for research, writing and teaching.

The research institute, one of four departments that do the work of the Getty Trust, sponsors and unites international scholars, maintains one of the world's largest art libraries and employs about 200 staffers.

Crow arrived in 2000, having written several books and having held professorial posts at Yale, Princeton and the Universities of Chicago and Michigan. On his watch, the institute has pursued joint projects with partners including USC (where Crow has also held a professorship), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, UCLA, CalArts and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Through the spending scandals and public power struggles that have dogged the Getty for two years -- forcing turnover in the posts of president, chairman, museum director and antiquities curator, among others -- the research institute has been unmarred.

But Crow, 58, noted that the offer from the Institute of Fine Arts -- widely regarded as the country's top graduate-level art history program -- offered his family a path he hadn't expected.

Crow is married with three children, the youngest of whom will finish high school in the spring. He'll leave the Getty in August to begin the new position, which includes two teaching days a week and a university-subsidized Greenwich Village apartment.

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