In an interview with Lee Rosenbaum of the art blog CultureGrrl, the former director of the Getty Museum opens up a bit about his problems with Getty Trust president James Wood. Here's an excerpt:
Rosenbaum: What were your professional differences with James Wood?
Brand: With respect to the art acquisition budget, the director of the Getty Museum needs to know what level of funding is available for art acquisitions in order to be able to plan ahead strategically. It is especially important in the case of major acquisitions to be able to establish priorities.
I felt the recent centralization of most art acquisition funds in the President's office, where they can be used for several other different purposes as well, made such strategic planning much more difficult. The purposes for those funds are: "major" art acquisitions for the Getty Museum, "major" acquisitions for the Getty Research Institute, "strategic initiatives" and, less formally, contingency. The museum has retained a much smaller art acquisition fund for purchases not deemed "major."
The main difference in philosophy was in our approach to the budget cuts last spring, where, like the directors of many other major art museums, I decided to prioritize the retention of staff and their expertise when implementing the mandated 25% cut to the Getty Museum's operating budget.
Another, more specific, example was my inability last year to introduce a student and teacher discount for our museum visitors after the Getty Trust raised the parking fee from $7 to $15.