LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Getty Trust on Monday named James Cuno to head up its renowned art museums and collections, the second time it has tapped a leader of the Art Institute of Chicago to run its wide-ranging arts programs.
Cuno, who oversaw the opening of the Art Institute of Chicago’s $300 million Modern Wing during his seven years as the museum’s director, will succeed the late James Wood, who died last year. Wood preceded Cuno at the Art Institute.
Cuno, 60, has written a book about museums that boast encyclopedic collections, and the chairman of Getty’s Board of Trustees called him “an ideal candidate.”
“The Getty needs a leader with an understanding of all aspects of the visual arts, who is known and respected around the world for intellectual curiosity and achievement,” board chairman Mark Siegel said in a statement.
The Getty, launched in 1954 by billionaire industrialist and collector J. Paul Getty, has a budget that dwarfs most art institutions’ resources. It operates an iconic hilltop museum in Los Angeles as well as the Getty Villa in Malibu, art research and conservation facilities, and it funds concerts, performances and lectures.
The Getty Trust trimmed its staff and cut its budget 24 percent to $216 million in 2010 because of losses in its $4.2 billion endowment.
The museum suffered damage to its reputation six years ago when its former curator for antiquities was charged in Italy with dealing in stolen works. Curator Marion True denied the charges which were later dismissed because a court ruled the statute of limitations had run out.
The Getty, like many museums, has had to return some artworks of dubious provenance.
Cuno, who previously led London’s Courtauld Institute of Art and the Harvard University Art Museums, said his new employer was renowned for its “presentation, preservation, and study of works of art and architecture in Los Angeles and around the world. There is no institution like it.”
The board of the 130-year-old Art Institute of Chicago said it would form a search committee to find a new leader.
Reporting by Andrew Stern