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A prominent collector and supporter of the Getty Museum in LA is blasting the famed art institute for its new anti-discrimination playbook, which showers itself with blame for being racist and vows its staff will “reflect the diversity of Southern California and the nation” in the future.
But the 13-page “Diversity and Inclusion” plan is nothing more than insincere “white self flagellation” and will ultimately undermine the high standards at Getty and other top museums, said entrepreneur Jay Snider, who volunteers on the Getty’s Research Institute Council.
“It’s galling because it’s not true,” Snider told The Post of the museum’s confessional. “I don’t think there is a trustee or anyone in management who believes this mea culpa of racism.”
Snider, a wealthy businessman, philanthropist and son of late Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider, said the museum has a long history of making inclusive art choices, including in its Pacific Standard Time collaboration, which looks at contributions across Latin and North America.
“I have never seen in any way the Getty strive to do anything but create open-minded types of exhibits,” he said.
So why cop to institutional racism?
“There are only two possible conclusions,” Snider wrote in a letter to Getty CEO James Cuno and fellow council members obtained by The Post.
“Either the Getty is a horrifically racist institution, in which case the leadership that has presided over this evil, including the trustees, should resign immediately to restore the public trust.
“Or the Getty is virtue-signaling to an insidious movement that seeks to transform every important American institution in the hopes that its public penance works as a kind of talisman.”
The 63-year-old Snider’s ire was sparked in December during an online meeting when the new policy was discussed among members of the RIC, a group he’s been a part of for three years.
It would state: “Racism has stained all of our institutions, including museums and Getty, and must be confronted and eliminated.”
But it also vowed to “contextualize” collections “through diverse and inclusive narratives— including histories of ownership, privilege, exclusion, cultural influence, and appropriation.”
“It’s pure Marxism,” said Snider of that policy.
“This is how things will be looked at now. Not this person invented a brand new way of printing or illustrating books or the use of color in paintings.”
He added: “What they should be striving to do is reach Martin Luther King’s dream and evaluate things objectively based on their intrinsic value or on art world standards. It either meets those standards or it doesn’t and it’s regardless of the color of the artist.”
Snider aired his concerns at the meeting but says they were largely ignored. So he fired off his letter.
“I have no hope this letter will change the policy,” he told The Post. “It was signed off on by their trustees and everyone is bullied into this whether they believe it or not.”
Snider said that by speaking out he might empower others to stand up to the “thin veneer of intimidation” disguised as anti-racist mandates before they “sweep into every corner of American culture.”
He noted Gary Garrels resigned from his curator job at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art in July, after employees accused him of racism, because Garrels said the museum would still collect the work of white artists.
“You take these policies to its logical end, and it will destroy the arts,” said Snider. ” It takes away from creativity.”
A Getty representative did not return a call for comment.