April 19, 2018

The J. Paul Getty Trust Announces the appointment of Mary Miller as Director of The Getty Research Institute

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Amy Hood
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Dr. Mary Miller is an esteemed art historian and leading expert in Mesoamerican art

Photo by Jon Atherton, Yale West Campus

LOS ANGELES – The J. Paul Getty Trust announced today the appointment of art historian Mary Miller as the new director of the Getty Research Institute. Dr. Miller is currently Sterling Professor of the History of Art at Yale University and Senior Director of Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage.

               Miller became the first woman to be dean of Yale College in December 2008 and served until June 2014. Before assuming the deanship, she served as head of Saybrook College for 10 years.

                “Dr. Miller is a distinguished art historian, a renowned lecturer, and proven administrator. She is a leader in her field and someone I know to be deeply invested in the preservation of the world’s artistic knowledge, at all levels, as is in keeping with our mission at the Getty,” said James Cuno, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “As one of the world’s preeminent centers for cultural research, the Getty Research Institute must have a leader whose vision can encompass new practices in the study and dissemination of cultural heritage and who can foster a truly global approach to art history. Dr. Miller is exactly that leader and I believe she will bring a fresh perspective to the GRI. I look forward to working with her to keep advancing our field.”

               A specialist of the art of the ancient New World, Miller is currently  focusing her work  on  the Maya city of Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Maya figurines, and the history of the market in prehispanic art, particularly in California. Recently, she has also lectured in depth on the role of art history in liberal education.

                “The GRI directorship is an incredible opportunity for me, and I am so excited about the resources the Getty Research Institute provides for research in the history of art, archaeology, and related humanistic disciplines, from the on-site library to massive archives that attest to the human imagination on the visual plane,” said Miller. “Having worked on Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, I’m particularly keen to participate in developing the next phase of the Getty’s vision.”

                Miller earned her A.B. from Princeton in 1975 and her Ph.D. from Yale in 1981, joining the faculty in that year. At Yale she has served as chair of the Department of History of Art, chair of the Council on Latin American Studies, director of Graduate Studies in Archeological Studies, and as a member of the Steering Committee of the Women Faculty Forum. She recently chaired a committee of faculty, administrators, and alumni in the search for a new director of the Yale University Art Gallery.

                For her work on the art of ancient Mexico and the Maya, Miller has won national recognition including a Guggenheim Fellowship. Miller was recently awarded the Howard Lamar Prize of the Association of Yale Alumni for outstanding service by a faculty member. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and sciences (since 1994) and she is a National Phi Beta Kappa fellow for 2018. In April and May of 2010 she delivered the A W Mellon lectures at the National Gallery of Art and she delivered the Slade Lectures at Cambridge University during the academic year 2014-2015. She is the only Yale scholar to have earned both honors.

               Miller has written broadly in her field as author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of many publications.  Her acclaimed work with Linda Schele, Blood of Kings, earned the Alfred Barr Award for Distinguished Museum Scholarship and set her on a path to write for both fellow scholars and the general public.  Among her other books are The Murals of Bonampak, The Art of Mesoamerica, Maya Art and Architecture (now 2nd edition with Megan O’Neil), The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya (with Karl Taube), A Pre-Columbian World (co-edited with Jeffrey Quilter), Painting a Map of Mexico City (co-edited with Barbara Mundy) and The Spectacle of the Late Maya Court: Reflections on the Murals of Bonampak (with Claudia Brittenham, based on fieldwork supported by the Getty Grant). With Khristaan Villela, she edited a significant collection of historical documents for The Aztec Calendar Stone, a GRI publication of 2010. She has just completed the 6th edition of Art of Mesoamerica, the signature textbook for the study of Mesoamerican art history.

              Miller has curated or served on planning committees for numerous major exhibitions and served as key advisor on strategic initiatives at important art institutions and universities throughout the U.S. She co-organized two landmark exhibitions of Maya Art: Blood of Kings, at the Kimbell Art Museum in 1986, and Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya organized by the National Gallery of Art and the de Young Museum in 2004. Most recently, she contributed to two exhibitions in the Getty’s initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA: Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Golden Kingdoms: Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

             Miller succeeds Thomas Gaehtgens, who retires from the Getty Research Institute this month. She takes up her  full-time role at the GRI in January 2019; from September through December 2018 she will make periodic visits to the GRI. Andrew Perchuk, deputy director at the Getty Research Institute, will serve as acting director until January.



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 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.


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