On July 21, the Getty Board of Trustees posted a response on the Getty’s blog, the iris, to a July 15 open letter written by hundreds of current and former Getty employees as well as museum visitors. In its response, the Board writes that they “acknowledge the historic gravity of the moment following the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among other Black Americans” and that they “stand united behind the declaration: Black Lives Matter.” They affirm their commitment to the Getty’s DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Council, stating that they will receive a DEI report at every board meeting. While touting some of the steps the institution has taken towards diversity, including the Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internships (often referred to as the Getty Multicultural Internship Program) and the establishment of the African American Art History Initiative, they also acknowledge “that Getty has much work still to do.”

In the comments section of the post, the team that organized the initial open letter posted their own response on July 24. “We look forward to greater transparency about how senior staff may be held accountable, as well as to what benchmarks Getty will set for itself,” they write, asking for specifics about goals, senior staff reviews, and funding for the DEI Council and Task Forces. They further ask why it will take until the next Board meeting in September to “share actionable goals” when “the Met [Metropolitan Museum of Art] shared its commitments to anti-racist actions at the beginning of the month.” While they recognize the importance of programs like the Marrow Internships and the African American History Initiative, they note that the “Getty must realize that such public-facing projects do nothing to address the discrimination faced by staff.” The full text of both of these responses can be found here.

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Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.