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Former Kimbell Director Now Getty Museum Director

by Jerome Weeks 15 Feb 2012 10:04 AM

Onwards and upwards. Timothy Potts — moving from Fort Worth to Cambridge to California.


Timothy Potts, who ran the Kimbell from 1998 to 2007, starts as the Getty’s new director Sept. 1. A native Australian and an Oxford graduate, Potts had most recently been running the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge in England.

I love the Los Angeles Times’ Culture Monster report when, in order to give its readers some idea of the Kimbell in comparison to the massive Getty (the Getty Trust, which funds the place, has been called “the economic Goliath of the museum world”), says the Kimbell “compares to the Getty Museum in the size of its acquisition budget.”

Which also tells you something about the Kimbell. Potts, when he was here, helped the Kimbell acquire its Donatello and Bernini terracotta sculptures (a Virgin and child and a pair of angels). The Getty Museum position had been vacant for almost two years (see Where Are the Arts Managers?) ever since Michael Brand left.

Potts’ background is in Near East archaeology. He helped the Kimbell expand its antiquities collection and you can read about his ideas on the issues of looting and unprovenanced works here — by the authors of Chasing Aphrodite, who admittedly aren’t overjoyed with Potts’ record.

Given their pro-collecting positions in a museum world that has largely turned a different direction, it will be interest[ing] to see how [Getty CEO James] Cuno and Potts decide to deploy the Getty’s wealth in the coming years.