Star Wars creator George Lucas’ vision of a museum of narrative art is big, bold and unapologetically popular. And Los Angeles, with its unique mix of high and low culture, is the perfect place to build it.
The plaque in the Getty Villa, a meticulous recreation of an aristocrat’s villa wiped out by Vesuvius in 79 AD, is demure about the life of its namesake; it doesn’t dwell on the fact that J. Paul Getty was once the richest man in the world, the billionaire head of Getty Oil, founder of Fortune magazine, a longtime Malibu-and-Mexico playboy with a penchant for 17-year-old wives and European art. Most people who remember him now usually associate him with an episode in the 1970s when his grandson, J. Paul Getty III, was kidnapped by the Calabrian mafia. The elder Getty refused to pay a ransom until after the kidnappers mailed one of the young man’s ears to an Italian newspaper.
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