Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An "appetite for risk" now a prerequisite for top museum jobs?

In appointing Dr Timothy Potts, currently director of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, as the new director of the Getty Museum, James Cuno, President and CEO of the J.Paul Getty Trust, confirmed he had been seeking a director "with an appetite for risk."

Both Cuno and Potts have in recent years adopted robust approaches to acquiring antiquities that don't have a clear ownership history. In appointing Dr Potts to the job, Cuno is clearly building a team sympathetic to his own approach to problematic cultural objects.

KCRW radio has just run a revealing interview with Cuno about the appointment of Dr Potts. During the broadcast, which includes Jason Feltz, co-author of Chasing Aphrodite (which exposed the extent of the Getty's earlier abuse of international cultural heritage laws), Cuno is pressed on his own previously articulated opinions about acquisition, and his long-held assertion that most requests for repatriation of cultural objects are underpinned by "nationalist" agendas.

Listen to the interview here.

(My thanks to Kwame Opoku for drawing my attention to this item)