Merritt Price is the former head of the Design Department (now Museum Design Department) at the J. Paul Getty Trust, which he ran from 1995-2020. Price grew up in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, and moved to Toronto in 1980 to attend the Ontario College of Art (now Ontario College of Art and Design). Price worked for several design firms in Toronto, including starting his own practice called Tangram, before accepting a position with the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1990. He began his work with the J. Paul Getty Trust in 1995, founding what was then the Exhibition Design Department. In this interview, Price discusses growing up in rural Ontario; attending University of Waterloo before transferring to Ontario College of Art to study industrial design; working at Toronto design firms, including Keith Muller Ltd. and his private practice called Tangram; teaching university-level design throughout his career, including through Ontario College of Art and Otis College; working with the Art Gallery of Ontario (1990-1995), including learning to run an in-house design studio for a museum; founding the Exhibition Design Department at the Getty in 1995, including determining scope of work and hiring multidisciplinary employees; the Getty Center project, which opened in 1997, including working with Richard Meier & Partners Architects, designing wayfinding systems for the campus, as well as designing opening exhibitions and other visitor experiences; working on redesigns at the Getty Villa; memorable exhibitions, including Foundry to Finish: The Making of a Bronze Sculpture and J. Paul Getty Life and Legacy; collaborating with other departments and programs at the Getty Trust; the process of design, including mockups and visitor testing; challenges under Barry Munitz's leadership; the impact of financial downturns on the Getty; his decision to retire; the impact of COVID19 pandemic on Design Department work, as well as plans for reopening to the public; and his reflections on changes at the Getty, as well as the organization's contributions to the field of exhibition design.




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