Friday, February 10, 2006

Barry Munitz, Out at Getty

Modern Art Notes' Tyler Green's got the scoop on the today's big art news, posting an internal email to staff explaining that Getty Trust CEO Barry Munitz was exiting stage left, very quickly, with no severance and actually agreeing to pay back $250,000 to the trust. Now I'm no expert on the ins and outs of the controversy, and it's always a fool's game to convict someone in the court of public opinion, but these certainly don't sound like the actions of a clear conscience. From the Los Angeles Times:

Barry Munitz abruptly ended his controversial eight-year tenure as head of the J. Paul Getty Trust on Thursday, agreeing to resolve "any continuing disputes" by paying the Getty $250,000 and giving up severance pay and benefits that would have exceeded $1.2 million.

Munitz admitted no wrongdoing, and the trust did not specify the issues underlying his resignation. But the decision came after more than a year of relentless controversy at the Getty, much of which has centered on Munitz's leadership.

As Tyler notes, modestly downplaying his own part in reporting this story, The LA Times has been beating the drum about Munitz for quite some time. Now, if only we could get that crew to cover the White House and Congress.


Blogger James W. Bailey said...

Dear Edward,

The corruption at the 501(c)3 level in the art world is systemic. My hope is that Congress finally gets off its ass on this issue and finally does someting about holding these organizations fully accountable. I'm not much of a fan of Tyler Green's art review skills, but I'll be the first to admit he deserves a Pulitzer for his reporting on the Getty.


P.S. Munitz should have hired American University's ex-President Benjamin Ladner to negotiate his severance package -

2/10/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

The LA Times has been beating the drum about Munitz for quite some time. Now, if only we could get that crew to cover the White House and Congress.

They are E, better ones in fact, but pressure is being applied, a lot of pressure.

2/10/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger James W. Bailey said...

While we're handing out Pulitzers, my favorite newspaper I love to hate, the New York Times, deserves one for scooping the Washington Post (who deserves a slew of Pulitzers for their committed reporting on Katrina) on a story that all of us in New Orleans have known since day one - that the White House knew about the failure of the levees on the night of the storm. How's it art related? Almost all of New Orleans's cultural organizations are moving closer and closer to bankruptcy. Talk about a cultural crime.


2/10/2006 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous ML said...

Christopher Knight wrote a sterling article about the Getty the last Sunday. In it he recommends that the vast endowment support the building of a museum of photographs, expand their art collection, fund a culture magazine, collect domestic architecture (in LA buildings of great significance disappear overnight), create a global exhibition which travels. I would add it would be great to have something in LA which parallels the Whitney Biennial and Greater New York. The truth, though, as Knight points out eloquently, is that the Getty is more concerned with protecting the endowment than impacting the art world. And no one on the Board is knowledgeable about art. I have met one of the Board members, a former CEO of Neutragena, who takes photographs himself. Not bad ones, actually. But not a lot of knowledge there about art, interest yes, knowledge, no.

I am delighted Munitz is leaving and I hope his successor is more concerned with art than traveling first class and having the right kind of umbrella in Italy.

2/10/2006 02:04:00 PM  

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