Sunday, May 2, 2010


We visited the Getty Villa in Malibu, California, my first time there (to the Getty Villa). The buildings, gardens and site are magnificent and there are remarkable things within. I am amazed, but not surprised, that some critics derided it as Disney-like kitsch when it opened. Of course, for me there is no such thing as kitsch, even Disney is deadly serious (seriously). The design was directed by Norman Neuerburg with a great deal of input by Mr. Getty himself . An extraordinary amount of handcraftsmanship was utilized in carrying out the design (coloful mosaics, intricate plasterwork, exquisite wall paintings, rich marble veneers). In a 1975 article, published in volume IV of Classical America, soon after the completion of the museum, Neuerburg recounted that "the initial reaction of the local critics, none capable of judging what had been done, was essentially negative, ranging from just unkind to downright vitriolic, and unfortunately their comments were picked up around the world and repeated by other equally unimaginative people."  He also noted though, that "the public, fortunately, doesn't pay too much attention to what critics say and the Museum has become impressively popular with visitors."

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