January 06, 2014

Celebrated Children's Author Cornelia Funke Creates Children's Guide For Getty Research Institute Exhibition

Families can follow a knowledge-loving pirate ghost through Connecting Seas, which features themes of exploration and discovery

Connecting Seas: A Visual History of Discoveries and Encounters
December 7, 2013–April 13, 2014
At the Getty Research Institute, Getty Center


MEDIA CONTACT:                 
Amy Hood
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6427
LOS ANGELES— He speaks 27 languages, has a thirst for adventure and is on a quest to seek redemption from the dark deeds in his past through inquisitive learning.  And he’s been dead for nearly 300 years.

As envisioned by celebrated children’s author Cornelia Funke, William Dampier is a “pirate, adventurer, explorer, and ghost” who haunts the Getty Research Institute’s treasure-filled vaults in an endless quest for knowledge. He is the voice of a new guide Funke created for the Getty Research Institute (GRI) exhibition Connecting Seas: A Visual History of Discoveries and Encounters, which draws on the GRI’s extensive special collections to reveal how adventures on other continents and dis­coveries of other cultures were perceived, re­presented, and transmitted during past ages of ocean travel.

Dampier provides imaginative context for maps, globes, silver coins and other objects on view that might catch a young explorer’s eye. For example, in Funke’s description of a Portuguese Box Compass made in 1789 her character describes the tool as “very helpful” and notes that it came to the GRI with the ghost of a sailor who is surprised but pleased to find himself in a museum. In describing a Kangxi Rouleau-Form Vase (ca. 1700–1720) Funke’s pirate explains the origins and popularity of porcelain while lamenting the loss of his own collection, smashed when his ship was caught in a storm. And in an entry on a colonial game, “The French Empire Race” (1941) the pirate notes that even though he enjoys playing games the viewer should “beware” and look closely because the game is designed to “sell you a certain idea of the world.”

“Cornelia Funke has crafted a children’s guide that is bold, intriguing and fun,” said Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute. “Her writing celebrates exploration and discovery and encourages critical viewing. It is an honor to work with her and to welcome families into our new gallery in this delightful way.”

Connecting Seas, on view through April 13, is the first exhibition in the GRI’s newly constructed gallery, which triples the institution’s exhibition space and allows visitors to better explore the iconic GRI building.

The guide, written by Funke with illustration by Mirada Studios, is available in the exhibition gallery or can be downloaded online via the exhibition website. Both Funke and Mirada generously donated their time to create the guide.

Funke will speak and sign books at the Getty on Sunday, April 6, 2014. This event is free, tickets may be reserved at in early 2014.

Cornelia Funk
 is an award-winning author best known for her popular series The InkworldTrilogy.  She has published numerous fantasy and adventure novels for young adults and recently created, with Mirada Studios, an app for her latest series of novels, the MirrorWorld Series. Originally from Germany, Funke has lived in Los Angeles with her family for nine years. Funke is a frequent visitor to the Library at the Getty Research Institute, where she finds inspiring material about history, legends, and faraway places among its special collections.

About Mirada
Mirada is a studio designed for storytellers. Founded by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, and Motion Theory co-founders Javier Jimenez and director Mathew Cullen, Mirada is equal parts design studio, visual effects & animation facility, creative & technology incubator, development and production company. Mirada opened in 2010 with narrative tradition at its heart and technological innovation as its engine. 

IMAGE AT TOP: William Dampier, pirate, explorer, adventurer and ghost, as imagined by Cornelia Funke and Mirada Studios.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library—housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier—is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library’s special collections include rare books, artists’ journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.

Visiting the Getty Center

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