The LA Times’s Christopher Knight makes a case for uniting the unwieldy and troublesome structure of the Getty Museum and Trust under James Cuno:
“[The] founder desires and purposes to found, maintain and perpetuate … a museum, gallery of art and library,” the document said. “The object and purposes of The J. Paul Getty Museum shall be the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge.”
After Getty’s 1976 death, that intent became elastic. In many respects, it had to. Nonprofit law requires an average annual expenditure of certain percentages of endowment income, and Getty had left so much money to his museum that it simply couldn’t spend it all.
So, the donor’s aim of a “diffusion of artistic and general knowledge” was unhinged from his museum and yoked to an umbrella trust instead. Getty’s museum became one among several programs the trust now administers. Originally the museum and trust were synonymous, but now the trust is preeminent.