March 12, 2012

John Divola Selected for 2012 Getty Artists Program

Internationally renowned photographer will create a "Digital Scavenger Hunt" for elementary school and community college students


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Alexandria Sivak
Getty Communications
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John Divola

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Museum has chosen artist John Divola for its 2012 Getty Artists Program. Each year, the Getty Museum’s Education department invites one established, mid-career artist to take part in the program, creating and implementing a project of his or her choosing. The artist is given the freedom to select an audience, and develop the focus and format of their project. Past Getty artists have included Mark Bradford (2010) and Jennifer Steinkamp (2011).

“We have looked to artists who we know have an interest in and engagement with education,” says Toby Tannenbaum, assistant director for Education at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Since 1988, John has been a faculty member at the University of California, Riverside, and also has an interest in working with elementary-age school children, so we look forward to collaborating with him on a number of projects throughout the spring.”

Divola, known for his photography of California social and environmental landscapes, proposed a photography project directed at a number of audiences, including elementary school and college students. As part of his project, students from Hooper Avenue Elementary School, currently taking part in the Getty’s Art Together program, will engage in a “Digital Scavenger Hunt” across the Getty Center campus in March.

For the scavenger hunt, students are given a list of subjects or prompts related to objects in the Museum’s collection or aspects of the Getty Center site. As the students photograph each subject, they engage with the art, the site, and the practice of photography in a new way, and are given the freedom to be creative in their approach.

Once the hunt is complete, the students’ digital files will be collected, placed into very large grids of images by subject, and then output as large prints. The printed grids will be displayed at the Getty at a closing event in May. The end result is several works of art that demonstrate the varying interpretations of the challenge by each student, with the goal of engaging students in the process of photography without the weight of individual artistic expectations.

"Students are often over-critical of their efforts and they have a hard time getting started. This is a project where they can participate together and where the final results are visually compelling,” explains Divola. “It gets them out in the world, observing and making photographs, and they feel that they have participated in creating something substantial."

As part of the Getty Artists Program, Divola is also working with college students from Santa Monica College, East Los Angeles Community College, College of the Canyons, and Pierce College. He recently hosted a Master Class related to the project, and the student work resulting from their Digital Scavenger Hunt will be featured at the Getty Center’s 2012 College Night on Monday, April 16

More information about the Getty Artists Program can be found at  

For more information about John Divola and to view his work currently owned by the Getty, please click here.

About John Divola

John Divola (b. 1949, Los Angeles) is a visual artist who works primarily with photography and digital imaging. Since 1975, Divola’s work has been featured in more than 60 solo and 200 group exhibitions in the United States, Japan, Europe, Mexico, and Australia. Among Divola’s awards are Individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1973, 1976, 1979, 1990); the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1986); the Flintridge Foundation Fellowship (1998); the City of Los Angeles Artist Grant (1999); and the California Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship (1998).

Divola is the author of numerous books of photography, including Continuity (Ram Publications/Smart Art Press), Isolated Houses (Nazraeli Press), Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert (Nazraeli Press), Three Acts (Aperture), and The Green of This Notebook (Nazraeli Press).

In addition to exhibiting his work, Divola has taught photography and art at numerous institutions, including California Institute of the Arts (1978-1988) and the University of California, Riverside, where he has been a professor since 1988. He received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge and his master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.


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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 J. Paul Getty Museum collects in seven distinct areas, including Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and photographs gathered internationally. The Museum’s mission is to make the collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting the works of art through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conservation, and research.

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