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Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center (1997)


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Release Date:

17 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sympnoia apopseon: To kentro Getty  »

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How Richard Meier's Getty Center was conceived and built
17 January 2006 | by (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

When the Paul Getty Trust Fund came up in the eighties with the idea of a brand new museum in Los Angeles to house the 1600+ collection and library, they sought out the well-known architect Richard Meier, who had already designed similar projects in Frankfurt and Chicaco. This documentary traces the development of the Getty Museum, involving all parties, from the museum management to the neigbourhood, from the architect to garden designer, from the builders to the librarians.

And it was indeed a concert of wills. What makes this such a fascinating documentary is that the makers followed almost everyone everywhere, be it the local council that wants to protect the hillside (and the views!) upon which an enormous museum is planned, or a trip to the stonecutters and heated discussions about colours and textures of stoneware to be used. Richard Meier is an important architect, but the trustees also have their own ideas about museums and collections and public acceptance. It is certainly not the smoothest documentary ever made, but instead one gets indeed a fair idea of the enormous quantity and quality of thinking what lays at the heart of this gigantic museum project. And indeed, the concerted wills of all participants involved are overcoming a lot of frustration or thwarted ambitions.

The irony of all this is that Meier's buildings and the fantastic gardens have far outstripped the importance of the museum collection, which is just a notch or two above the mediocre. Could one speak here of a "Triumph of the Will" perhaps?

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