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Getty museum selects Timothy Potts as new director

Director Timothy Potts in his office at the Kimbell Museum in west Fort Worth on Wednesday March 1, 2006.  The museum plans to expand in the future.  (Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Ron T. Ennis)
Ron T. Ennis/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Director Timothy Potts in his office at the Kimbell Museum in west Fort Worth on Wednesday March 1, 2006.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles announced Tuesday it has selected a new director.

Timothy Potts has directed museums in the U.S., in his native Australia and, most recently, in Cambridge, England, at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

In the Getty’s international search for a new director, Potts was chosen for the job against seven other finalists.

“That breadth of experience from around the world may have been part of it,” he said. “And I’ve also been very focused on acquiring work of very high quality – that’s always been a major priority and continues to be the lifeblood of any museum. It’s certainly an aspect that I intend very much to continue at the Getty.”

Potts holds a doctorate in ancient Near Eastern art from the University of Oxford.

The 53-year-old said he was attracted to the Getty because of the unique place it holds in the art world, both nationally and internationally.

“It’s a great museum, a great collection, but it’s much more than that,” he said. “The programs it builds around the research institute, the conservation work it does – both within the states and globally. So it’s a combination of strengths that really no other institution has.”

In his role as director, Potts will govern two campuses — the Getty Center, overlooking the hills of Los Angeles, and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Potts said he’s not coming in to his new position with any set plans for the Getty’s future, but looks forward to thinking about its potential.

“There’s lots that the Getty has not collected — has chosen not to. I wouldn’t be coming in with suggestions that it go to the other extreme, of being universal in scope. I think that just wouldn’t be sensible in lots of ways, but selectively, there may be ways it could be expanded and perhaps should be,” he said.

Potts starts work on Sept 1. He replaces David Bomford, who resigned as the Getty’s interim director in early February, to return to research.

Correction: This story originally misspelled David Bomford's last name as Bomberg.