Woody Internship at the Getty: Week 9

Sorry I’m a bit late on this blog…this has been my last week here at the Getty and I’ve been super busy finishing up all my projects! But that’s for my last entry. For now, let’s talk about week 9.

First of all, week 9 was VERY BUSY. I will focus on a few of the highlights, because if I talked about everything then it would be a super long post. The first big event was last Monday – the opening of our latest special exhibition entitled Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculptures of the Hellenistic World. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the staff preview that afternoon, which was an awesome chance to see this AMAZING exhibit before it’s open to the public. It truly is one of the best special exhibits I’ve ever seen. The highlight for me was The Seated Boxer, a sculpture featured in pretty much every art history survey. How incredible to see it in person! It’s probably the most stunningly vivid and lifelike bronze sculpture I have ever seen. But, of course, the real event of the day was the opening that night. Like with the Andrea del Sarto opening, I worked at the check-in table for the first part, then had the chance to hear the remarks, observe the crowds, and (most importantly) try the food. (It was delicious, by the way.) We had a very large crowd come out; I believe the total came to over 400 people. Everything went smoothly, though it did get quite crowded in the exhibit area with everyone trying to see it at once.

On Tuesday and Thursday, I helped out with a teacher program designed to help teachers integrate art into their curriculum. As you may recall, I helped with similar program at the beginning of the summer, so I was already familiar with Sandy (the woman from Education who was leading it) and the general layout of the program itself. While I didn’t work as closely with this one as I did with the last one, I still got to sit in on some of the tours and presentations.

Also in Museum Education, I helped set up for another family program on Friday called Art Labs. It allowed visitors to draw their own still lifes based off of fresh fruit and flowers, and then attach it to a large foamcore board with a flower pot on it. At the end of the day, the participants had created one big still life. The program was super popular, and some people made really incredible art! Of course, the most important part is allowing families to engage with our collection, and I think this project did a great job of that while keeping a pretty simple concept.

The weekend was very busy for me with the first two installments of Garden Concerts for Kids, a three-weekend summer program that brings local children’s musicians to the Getty for a fun, family-friendly concert in our Central Garden. In terms of execution, it was relatively similar to the Saturdays Off the 405 concerts, so it wasn’t too difficult to adapt. This past weekend we had Jazzy Ash and the Leapin’ Lizards, a band that does New Orleans jazz-style music. They were actually very talented and a lot of fun to listen to! While the setup is similar to the adult concerts, the energy and overall vibe is quite different because the audience is largely families. We provide blankets for them to sit on in the garden lawn, there’s an ice cream cart – basically, it’s a very relaxed and fun environment.

One of other awesome things that happened last week: Danielle and I took a tour of the paintings conservation lab with one of the conservators! As with the decorative arts lab tour, I was totally geeking out. This time it was even more intense because there were so many paintings in the lab and we got to see them super up close. Devi (the conservator) told us about her job and even showed us one of the techniques for removing dust and dirt from a painting – wetting a cotton swab with saliva (!!!) and brushing it gently over the surface. I thought this seemed crazy, but apparently it is a tried-and-true method. Another cool aspect of the conservation lab is retouching paintings that have been damaged. Devi showed us a 17th century Dutch painting that she is currently working on, and how she has to mix paints to match the exact right shade. Basically, a conservator not only has to understand chemistry, they also have to be a skilled artist in order to “fill in the blanks” of damaged pieces. The Getty has one of the most renowned conservation institutes in the world, and it was such a treat to be able to see it.

View of The Seated Boxer in the Getty's special exhibition pavilion.

View of The Seated Boxer in the Getty’s special exhibition pavilion.

Thus ends my penultimate blog….I may or may not be a little bit in denial that I have to leave this incredible place, but regardless, I still have one post left to try and sum up my adoration. See you on the other side!