Sunday, March 15, 2009

View Not So Clear From the Top Of The Hill

Critical Seeing...

Mike Boehm's article in today's L.A. Times seemed to be a fair piece of reporting that clearly outlined the complexities of the Getty as an organization, not to mention the low morale and lack of support the staff has for Jim Wood. On a somewhat disturbing note, I found some of Mr. Wood's comments quite outrageous. Specifically, the one alluding to calls for a reduction in his compensation. According to The Times, Mr Wood implied that the Getty's problems were "too big to be solved by such 'piecemeal' measures." Say, what?!?! Is it just me, or has he [and Trust leadership] clearly not been paying attention? To my recollection, the comments on the Silence Dogetty blog have never alluded to the fact that a reduction in Mr. Wood's compensation would alleviate all of the Getty's financial woes. What it has alluded to is the fact that there are no easy answers to this complex financial dilemma. It also mentioned that Mr. Wood could do wonders for staff morale by just cutting his own salary -- he doesn't have to wait to hear from the Board, in May, on that one. Furthermore, doing so would not mean that he was somehow caving into the petty demands of the majority of the staff, but rather recognizing that these changes are real and should affect everyone, including senior leadership -- again, just re-stating the obvious.

View of the West Pavilion at the Getty Center.

So what's next for the Getty? Well, it appears that the Getty Trust will continue their silent routine at least until the end of May, when the Board makes a final determination on the budget. In the meantime, the dismayed staff will most likely keep the pressure on The Trust via the Silence Dogetty blog. From a purely observational standpoint it would seem that in recent months online activity of this ilk, coupled with internal pressures, has led to the premature departure of some prominent arts leaders in L.A. Namely, Jeremy Strick (MoCA -- and Richard Koshalek (Art Center College of Design -- At this pivotal juncture, all eyes are on Mr. Wood and how he will play this one out.