Friday, February 20, 2009

The J. Paul Getty (Mis)Trust?

MoCA Mobilization Bug Has Apparently Caught On at the Getty

There's no doubt that times have been tough at art institutions throughout the country. Everyone is scrambling to hold on to every penny in order to continue with their exhibitions and programing schedules in order to avoid sinking into a financial abyss.

It's been almost a year since I left the Getty Trust under bitter sweet circumstances. Sweet, due to the talented and mission-driven colleagues who had a deep sense of commitment and obligation toward making the Getty a top-notch arts institution. Bitter, due to the abrasive, selfish and short-sided leadership of a selected few at the top of the food chain who share similar character traits with those "financial wizards" who brought Wall Street to its knees last November.

I was planning on writing an open letter to the Getty's CEO and President, James N. Wood, addressing some concerns that I had about the Getty's future, but apparently someone beat me to the punch. And did a WAY better job at it! Under the nom de plume, Silence Dogetty, some person(s) have taken brave and bold steps in attempting to right that which is obviously wrong at the Getty. Read the post here. Join the Facebook page here.

Without re-hashing what was posted on Silence Dogetty's blog, the biggest issue I had with Mr. Wood was the compensation aspect. In this turbulent economic climate, for the CEO of a nonprofit to propose a budget cut of 20-25% and not even think of adjusting his own $728,000 yearly salary is, in my opinion, absolutely preposterous and disgraceful to say the least. Moreover, the fact that The Trust subsidises his living accommodation expenses to the tune of a $20,000 per month housing allowance, indicates that there is a sever governance flaw that was clearly overlooked post-Munitz . Thank goodness for the Internet and the empowerment it gives regular individuals to organize!