William Poundstone
William Poundstone on Art and Chaos

William Poundstone’s Los Angeles County Museum on Fire

Hearst Lampshade, Cyrus Cylinder Coming to Getty

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Photo by David McSpadden

The most recherché object in an upcoming Getty Center show, “Untold Stories: Collecting and Transforming Medieval Manuscripts” will be a lampshade on loan from Hearst Castle. William Randolph Hearst commissioned architect Julia Morgan to create several lampshades from the leaves of a medieval choir book, probably Spanish. Opening in February, the Getty exhibition will explore the now-regretted practice of cutting up illuminated manuscripts. Among the lampshades’ distinctions: In 2009 Cracked.com rated them #4 of “The Six Stupidest Things Ever Done with Historic Treasures.”

Late next year the Getty Villa will host its first exhibition of ancient Near Eastern objects, headlined by the famous Cyrus Cylinder. The British Museum is lending the cylinder along with 16 other pieces to a show that will tour five U.S. museums. Getty Museum director Timothy Potts took his Ph.D. in Near Eastern art. Meanwhile, if anyone wants to do an Unlikeliest Replicas list, there’s a bronze version of the Cyrus Cylinder in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

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