LOS ANGELES, CA.-The J. Paul Getty Museum opened the exhibit Ten Years in Focus: The Artist and the Camera through August 10. Since the beginning of photography in the 1830s, painters and sculptors took up the new medium as a tool. The theme of the artist and the camera has been an important aspect of the Getty's photographs collection since its inception in 1984 and continues to shape its holdings. This can be seen in the selection for this exhibition of acquisitions made in the last decade, which explores the interconnectedness of art and photography.
The Museum collects photographs to complement strengths of the existing collection, or to fill a gapan area lacking work from a time period or by a specific maker. We strongly favor collecting many examples by important photographers to enable exhibitions and publications inspired by the collection. We feel a special duty to hold work by the best photographers with roots in California and the West.
As part of his Pictures of Junk series, Vik Muniz uses domestic and industrial detritus to reinterpret old master paintings of Greek and Roman mythological subjects. This photograph on the cover is a re-creation of a painting by Goya that depicts the Roman myth of the god Saturn. Fearing his children would overthrow him, Saturn ate each child as it was born.
Muniz collects and arranges "junk" to create these tableaux, enlisting inner-city youth involved in the Centro Espacial to help him. (Muniz created the charity in Rio de Janeiro to bring art projects to life for underprivileged young people.) A warehouse floor serves as his canvas, and he photographs from an elevated height, so that individual objects are reduced to brushstroke-like gestures.