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June 02, 2016

Los Angeles-Based Artist Alan Nakagawa Deconstructs Myth And Ancient Art At The Getty Villa

Saturdays, June 11, 18, 25, 2016
1:00–2:00 p.m. and 3:00–4:00 p.m.
At the J. Paul Getty Museum,
the Getty Villa

Desirée Zenowich        
Getty Communications        
(310) 440-7304                 

Alan Nakagawa: Myth Not Myth

Alan Nakagawa at the Getty Villa

Saturdays, June 11, 18, 25, 2016
1:00–2:00 p.m. and 3:00–4:00 p.m.

At the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Villa

LOS ANGELES – In a collaborative project with the Getty Museum, Los Angeles-based artist Alan Nakagawa presents Myth Not Myth, a series of original interactive sculptures on view at the Getty Villa this June.

Nakagawa is known for his installations that explore sound,and identity. Myth Not Myth deconstructs misperceptions about ancient art through conversation and sculpture. Nakagawa was interested in how the term “myth” is used both to describe the narratives and belief systems of the past and to describe stories that we consider to be untrue, false, or fictional.

Nakagawa conducted a series ofto paint Romano-Egyptian mummy portraits.

Myth not Myth consists of four witty and interactive sculptures inspired by those conversations.

Cycloptic Psychedelia consists of a black box with a small peephole revealing a fantastical and color-saturated miniature Classical landscape, populated with anachronistic and futuristic elements that interrupt this reimagined look into the past.

Misogynia, made in collaboration with ceramicists Wayne Perry and Nathalie Sanchez, pays homage to depictions of the phallus dating from antiquity to present day. The sculpture further comments on the representation of gender by incorporating an audio recording of seven female artists—Suzanne Lacy, Faith Ringgold, Yong Soon Min, Mickalene Thomas, Lezley Saar, and Amy Uyematsu—who share their wishes for the future of women. The pot’s form is based on a Bronze Age bowl in the Getty’s collection that depicts scenes from everyday life.

Enter to Win is a sandwich board-style sign that playfully pays homage to the Getty’s Fayum mummy portraits. Nakagawa’s painted portraits depict the recently deceased pop musicians Prince and Amy Winehouse.

Nakagawa’s April Fools’ Vase, made in collaboration with ceramicist Wayne Perry, recreates a terracotta vase of a Minotaur from the Getty’s collection. Nakagawa combines the vase with a turntable and visitors will be encouraged to “play” the vase as they would a record. The sculpture is based on a news report, later revealed to be an April Fools’ joke, claiming that a new laser technology could detect sound from the ancient past through a reading of minute etchings on the surface of Greek vases.

Myth Not Myth will take place in the Villa’s Outer Peristyle garden as a series of presentations by the artist on Saturdays, June 11, 18, and 25, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.  Admission is free and reservations for the presentations are not required. However, an advanced timed entry ticket is required to visit the Villa. For more information, please visit

Audio highlights of Nakagawa’s conversations with Getty Museum educator Erin Branham, curator Ken Lapatin, and conservator Marie Svoboda are currently accessible online at and will be available for visitors to the Getty Villa on GettyGuide iPods from June 8 to July 4.

About Alan Nakagawa
Alan Nakagawa is a Los Angeles-based inter-disciplinary artist who creates sound-based installations that explore the physical properties of sound frequencies and memory. He's interested in how we listen, how sound defines architecture and how sound relates to personal histories. Nakagawa studied video art and performance at Otis Art Institute (BFA) and UC Irvine (MFA), trained at the UCLA Oral History Program, and is a Monbusho Scholar. During the summer of 2015, he was invited to research the history of the hearing aid at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. He is also a recipient of the C.O.L.A. Fellowship, California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Fellowship, the Art Matters Inc. Award, and is currently artist-in-residence with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
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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 Pacific Palisades.
The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum's mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.
Visiting the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and most major holidays, open on July 4. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free, but a ticket is required for admission. Tickets can be ordered in advance, or on the day of your visit, at or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 4 p.m. Groups of 15 or more must make reservations by phone. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish); (310) 440-7305 (TTY line for the deaf or hearing impaired). The Getty Villa is at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.
Same-day parking at both Museum locations (Getty Center and Getty Villa) is available for $15 through the Getty's Pay Once, Park Twice program.

Additional information is available at
Sign up for e-Getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via e-mail, or visit for a complete calendar of public programs.
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