R.B. Kitaj — an appreciation
Now that we\’re commemorating the 40th anniversary of the famous \”Summer of Love,\” I\’m trying to figure out whether any of the backward glances will be able to convey a sense of what it was like.
Like many people of my generation, I first grooved on Mark Rothko\’s paintings at Washington, D.C.\’s Phillips Collection in the 1960s.Despite my long interest in those points at which \”art\” and \”Jewish\” intersect, and plenty of immersion in the meditative qualities of Rothko\’s work, I considered my admiration for Rothko\’s art to be at some distance from my Jewish sensibilities.
The Getty Center\’s upcoming exhibition \”Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai\” (Nov. 14-March 4) provides a great opportunity to ponder these religious confluences, while also coming almost face-to-face with some of the earliest, and most beautiful, images in Christian art.
Whether it\’s good luck or good planning, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in the Cleveland area has hit the exhibition jackpot with its current show, \”Cradle of Christianity,\” which runs through Oct. 22. Because while the film version of \”The Da Vinci Code\” is generating buzz over a purported tale of Jesus, here\’s an exhibition with tantalizing real objects that provide an actual glimpse from the years of early Christianity.
It\’s definitely tsuris time at the pristine white acropolis complex of the Getty, which overlooks the San Diego Freeway, and at its wonderful, freshly renovated, fake Pompeian villa up the Pacific Coast Highway. Barry Munitz, the Getty Trust\’s president and CEO since 1998, has been battered with press reports about apparently uncontrolled and self-indulgent personal expense-account spending of the kind that we have learned to associate with corporate malfeasance. The Getty\’s vast assets may result from spectacular corporate earnings, but a trust is responsible to the public — to us! — not to stockholders. Insider staff dissatisfaction became most evident last fall, with the sudden resignation of Getty Museum Director Deborah Gribben.