Martin Jauregui

So Cal Attraction Article

J. Paul Getty Center - Los Angeles - A Comprehensive Center for the Arts

Overlooking the 405 Freeway and high atop Los Angeles' Santa Monica Mountains is one of the country's most celebrated centers for the study, promotion, presentation, and preservation of art. The J. Paul Getty Center, also known as The Getty, opened its doors for the first time in 1997 with the idea of making some of the world's greatest works of art available for all to see, understand, and enjoy, both academically and aesthetically.

Almost 2 million visitors a year make their way through the doors at 1200 Getty Center Drive to view everything from paintings to photographs. The project that took more than a decade to plan and finalize pays tribute to both the surrounding urban areas and ancient Greco-Roman architecture in its design. Visitors enter the center through a glass hallway and into a courtyard. The space that makes up the Getty Center is divided into five individual buildings, and also contains a cafy and a space dedicated to temporary exhibits. Fountains and finely manicured shrubbery dot the center's landscape, while 34 acres of preserved and protected parkland surround the complex. The actual center, which sits on 24 acres or more than 1 million square feet of land, was designed and conceptualized by architect Richard Meier, who has been responsible for designing other projects around the world, including the Church of the Year 2000 in Rome, the Jesolo Lido Village in Italy, and the Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana.

Unlike its predecessor the Getty Villa in Malibu, California, which itself recently re-opened after an extensive renovation process, the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles has taken a decidedly more comprehensive approach to the arts. While the Getty Villa serves mainly as a space for the exhibition of ancient Greek and Roman art and antiquities, the new Getty Center in Los Angeles does more than just exhibit works of art. The center itself actually consists of four distinct programs, including the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the actual Getty Museum.

The Getty Research Center is a center for education as well as professional collaboration in the area of the visual arts. The Getty Conservation Institute focuses its efforts on conserving everything from individual pieces of art to entire collections and sites. The Getty Foundation makes use of several grants and programs to provide support for individuals and organizations that themselves are dedicated to education and preservation in the area of the visual arts.

The most popular program associated with the center by far is the Getty Museum. World renowned for its permanent and temporary exhibits, the museum houses some of the world's best-known and most expensive works of art, including Vincent van Gogh's famed 1889 painting Irises, drawings and sketches from Auguste Rodin, and a recently acquired painting by Peter Paul Rubens that was previously only known through copies. More than 400 other European paintings dating as far back as the 1300s make up the museum's collection, which also includes close to 700 drawings and sketches, manuscripts from as far back as the ninth century, and a vast collection of photographs from dozens of American and European photographers.

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