Getty Villa Reopens With “Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins”

Limited number of visitors permitted with free reservations

By Chad Winthrop

Looking for some weekend plans? The Getty Villa museum and gardens in Pacific Palisades has reopened with an exhibition on Mesopotamia featuring work from the Musée du Louvre and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

On Wednesday the Getty Villa reopened for a limited number of visitors with free reservations, with specific one-way routes and other measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

“The Getty Villa is one of the most unique experiences of any art museum, and we are delighted to be able to welcome visitors once again after more than a year’s closure,” said Timothy Potts, Maria Hummer-Tuttle and Robert Tuttle Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

As always, free advanced reservations will be required to visit the Villa, but to avoid overcrowding a limited number of reservations will be available each day. Galleries too small to accommodate social distancing will be closed, and paths through the galleries and gardens will be one-way.

The Getty Center in Brentwood remains closed to visitors for now, but preparations are under way to reopen the Getty Center museum and grounds next month, with the Getty Library opening some time afterward. Free reservations for the Getty Center will also be required in advance, with limited daily capacity.

Visitors to the Villa will have the opportunity – at last – to see Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins, which was slated to open just days after the Getty Villa was forced to close in March 2020. Organized by the Getty Museum and the Musee du Louvre, Paris, the exhibition features work from the Musée du Louvre with select additional loans from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

“As well as our collections of ancient Greek and Roman art, we are now able to present the most important exhibition of Mesopotamian art ever seen on the West Coast, on loan from the incomparable collections of the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins explores the origins of writing, architecture, art, and much else in ancient Iraq over five thousand years ago–a journey back to the origins of civilization that is not to be missed!” Potts said.

On view will be many of the most renowned masterpieces of Mesopotamian art, including the silver cult vase of the Sumerian king Enmetena, the cylinder seal of the royal scribe Ibni-sharrum, statues of Gudea and other kings of Babylonia, and a glazed brick lion from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to download the new Getty Guide app on their phones, either before visiting or while on site. The new Getty Guide app will safely enhance the visit experience, replacing shared guide devices. Visitors should remember to bring their own earbuds. Download the app on Apple or Android phones.

In addition to limited numbers of visitors and one-way routes, other safety measures at the Villa will include:

  • Visitors and staff must wear face coverings
  • Visitors and staff must maintain six feet distance (except within household groups)
  • Visitors will have temperatures checked upon arrival
  • Visitors and staff displaying symptoms (coughing, sneezing, fever) will not be allowed to enter
  • Staff are required to wash hands regularly; visitors are urged to do so as well
  • Café meals will be pre-packaged
  • The Family Forum remains closed

Make free advance reservations for the Getty Villa Museum.

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