The Getty Nazi


I believe it was Cézanne…yes it was Paul Cézanne’s painting of Still Life with Apples that started the strange ordeal. It’s from this painting that the “Getty Nazi” emerged like a Phoenix from the ashes of disgruntled Gettynaziism (I just made that up). I understand that Jen’s finger was close to the painting, but it did not warrant his completely overdramatic response. You know who I’m talking about; it’s that security guard in the museum that doesn’t trust anyone, not even if his own mother were to be viewing the paintings. I love going to museums but I hate those people watching me. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong or like I’m going to do something wrong. Sometimes it makes me not able to enjoy the artwork; it’s the art world’s form of “Big Brother”.  I’ve come to the conclusion that next time it’s raining and they give out those free foul pickle smelling umbrellas I’m either going to take one home or open one up and let wind from the storm carry it off into Westwood, it will be my protest, my form of “sticking it to the man”.

Sorry I digressed.

When the security guard saw Jen’s finger near the painting he then took action. If there had been a ruler handy he would have smacked her finger right off of her hand like an old angry school teacher trying to discipline his most troubled pupil. Because there was no ruler, no instrument of discipline, he just began to stand uncomfortably close to us. I saw the entire event take place out of my peripheral. It looked like he more or less sprinted to our previous position and then in some sort of military fashion clicked his heals and did an about-face. As we turned our backs I could feel him loading his eyes with ammunition and begin to fire off each round with precision and unparalleled marksmanship. I then followed Jen to a bench at the center of room where we observed the remaining paintings. The “Getty Nazi” than began to hover over us like a vulture over a rotting carcass. As I sat next of Jen I began to laugh, not with embarrassment but with amazement. I was amazed that this guy thought that we were trouble; I was amazed at the fact that he simply just didn’t say “excuse me, but could you not be so close to the painting.” Instead he stared us down and made his presence known. I couldn’t even tell Jen what was going on because the “Getty Nazi” was literally standing that close. I really wanted to tell the guy where he could go next, but the night was going well and I still wanted to see my favorite painting. As we made our way out of the gallery and into the gallery with Christ’s entry into Brussels I could see that we were on “the list”. I don’t really know what or who the list consisted of but I knew that somehow we had managed to make it to the top. The “Getty Nazi” followed us out of the gallery and then nonverbally informed the next security guard across the hall that we were trouble. It felt like we were the Bonnie and Clyde of the art world.

Here are a few things I learned from The Night of Bonnie and Clyde a.k.a., The Getty Nazi Night:

1.      If a security guard thinks you’ve touched a painting you might as well go back, look that bastard in the eye and touch the damn thing.

2.      Some of the Getty’s umbrellas smell like foul pickles.

3.      If you’re on top of a hill and you want to release an umbrella into the wind then by all means be my guest.

4.      I suck at holding an umbrella for two people.

5.      I suck at holding an umbrella for one person; I just can’t seem to get it.

6.      The Getty in the rain is amazing.

7.      Christ’s entry into to Brussels still is and probably always will be my favorite painting.

8.      Regarding art the phrase “because you’re a man” means that I probably would draw women naked or in some extremely uncomfortable fashion of the day.

9.      Apparently most paintings of flowers are boring.

10.  I will never outwit “Big Brother”, not even at the Getty.


  Matt wrote @

nice work!

  Jen Thompson wrote @

we should go back and i’ll lick it

  Nobody wrote @

We hate some aspects of the Getty as much as you. Cramped ass little galleries to stand around in with every other yokel asking the most inane questions. Or the yuppies who think that it’s their God given right to act like 4 year olds and do whatever comes to mind. Including finger-fucking artwork thats worth more than anything they’ll ever own in life. Higher echelon security blows, and forces it all downhill. So that poor shlub wearing an uncomfortable suit (right) who’s on his feet for a great 10 hour day, defending priceless art from hordes of sticky-fingered school children, is just doing his crappy job. All the while he gets to stand there dreaming of something better, then of making the hour plus commute home, and trying not to be bitter towards the mass of wild assholes that will proceed through his boring little box tommorow. If you don’t want to be harped at for not following the rules, go visit someplace else, and stop wandering around like your some elite pomp with his head up his ass inside a museum thats PRIVATELY OWNED. It’s not a goddamn public park.

  csmounday wrote @

Dear Nobody,

I would like to thank you for your encouraging remarks. It’s good to know that people too afraid to make statements using their real names still exist. So, Nobody or would you like to be called No One? Counseling is a completely viable option and is nothing to be looked down upon. Hoards of small school children can leave scars especially it you’re afraid of their sticky fingers. You’re making progress though; I can see that you’re channeling your aggression in positive ways.

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