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May 01, 2013

Sam Durant Selected for 2013 Getty Artists Program

His "What #isamuseum?" brings thought-provoking questions about museums to the Getty

May–July 2013
Online and at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center


MEDIA CONTACT:                 

Alexandria Sivak
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6473

Sam Durant (Photo: Sarah Waldorf) © J. Paul Getty Trust

LOS ANGELES—Each year, the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Education department welcomes one established, mid-career artist to take part in its Getty Artists Program allowing them to create and implement a project of their choosing. The artist is given the freedom to select an audience, and develop the focus and format of his or her project. Past Getty artists have included Mark Bradford (2010), Jennifer Steinkamp (2011), and John Divola (2012). For 2013, the Museum has invited Sam Durant, whose project will prompt visitors to the Getty Center and online to respond to thought-provoking questions about the role of museums.

Durant is a multimedia artist whose work features a variety of social, political, and cultural issues. Often referencing American history, his work explores the varying relationships between culture and politics, engaging subjects as diverse as the civil rights movement, southern rock music, and modernism.

“It’s important for museums like the Getty to engage with contemporary artists and our varied audiences,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The beauty of this program is that it accomplishes both of those things. In working with artists like Sam, we partner with highly creative individuals and give them the freedom to work with us in engaging our audiences. We all learn new things through the process.”

Sam Durant (Photo: Sarah Waldorf) © J. Paul Getty Trust

Beginning May 1 and continuing through July 2013, Durant presents What #isamuseum?, a project that will prompt visitors to explore the functions and roles of museums in contemporary life. For the project, Durant has curated a series of provocative questions about the nature of museums including “Is a museum for everyone?” and “Is a museum political?,” and posed these questions in unexpected places throughout the Getty Center site, such as on floors, tram windows, the “Today at the Getty” handouts that every visitor receives, and on paper napkins in the café.

Visitors can respond to Durant’s questions in several ways. An iPad station in the Museum’s Entrance Hall will encourage visitors to share their thoughts with others on-site, where a monitor will spotlight responses in an effort to encourage dialogue. Responses to the questions can also be submitted via
Twitter (@isamuseum, #isamuseum) and on the website

Explains Durant, "By expanding the conversation and encouraging different forms of response, participants can become active within the project and even change the debate around the initial issue.”

Durant’s work has been widely exhibited internationally and in the United States. He has had solo museum exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the
Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, Belgium; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand; and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. Durant has taught at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California since 1995, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

More information about the
Getty Artists Program, as well as summaries of past projects, can be found at:

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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.

Visiting the Getty Center
From May 24–August 30, 2013, the Getty Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday and major holidays.. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 5 p.m. for evening events throughout the week. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.

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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