James Cuno has been named president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Since 2004, he has been president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he oversaw the museum’s 2009 opening of the $280-million Modern Wing, designed by Renzo Piano. An expert in 19th-century French printmaking, Cuno will assume his new post on Aug. 1.
Cuno, 60, previously served as director and professor of the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (2003–04) and the Harvard University Art Museums (1991–2003), among others.
The choice of Cuno is an interesting one for the Getty, given its central role in the international antiquities scandal that began in 2005 and resulted in the indictment in Italy of the Getty’s longtime antiquities curator Marion True; Italian authorities dismissed her case last fall.
In 2008, Cuno published Who Owns Antiquity?, in which he advocated a return to the system of partage, whereby archeological finds were shared among local authorities and sponsoring institutions—universities, museums—not retained solely by the host country.
His most recent book, Museums Matter: In Praise of the Encyclopedic Museum, will be published by the University of Chicago Press this fall.
Cuno replaces James M. Wood, who died unexpectedly in July 2010. Wood was Cuno’s predecessor as president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, a position he held for 25 years.
The J. Paul Getty Museum directorship is still open following the January 2010 resignation of Australian native Michael Brand, who left one year before his five-year contract ended but declined to give specific reasons. During his tenure the Getty Museum repatriated 40 objects to Italy. He is now a consultant at the Aga Khan Development Network, which is constructing the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.