Jim Cuno is the President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles, the world's wealthiest art institution. He recently came to Reddit for an Ask Me Anything session that was heated, but anyone could have guessed that. Users asked him many different kinds of question, some less tense and others meant to push a button. Below are some highlights:

"How often do you catch people attempting to steal art?"
"Fortunately, never."
Jim Cuno

"Which book do you recommend from the gift shop?"
"My current favorite book in the bookstore is the catalogue for the current exhibition: "Overdrive." It's about the building of Los Angeles as a major world metropolis. Check it out."
Jim Cuno

"What is the reasoning on cutting 34 jobs to save 4.3 million dollars when you gave yourself and other higher ups huge bonuses and raises?"
"Regarding you first one about the cut in jobs, that wasn't a costs cutting measure but a restructuring... As to executive pay increases, they appear larger than they actually were because of something called "retirement plan restoration payments" being made in December rather than January. This saved the Trust a lot of money in payroll taxes. In fact, executive salaries increased only between 3.25% and 3.75%. All Getty salaries, including executive compensation, are reviewed annually with comparable salaries at similar institutions."
Jim Cuno

"What is your opinion for the repatriation of significant pieces of art to their place of origin? Or providing such loans for specific period of time to the birth place of artifacts for exhibition purposes?"
"My opinion is that works of art are made by people not places. They don't have meaning only in the places where they were made. They should be shared with the world. Museums should respect the law, even while voicing an opposition to the principles of the law. And they should loan works of art as generously as physically possible."
Jim Cuno

"What do you see as the solution to the problem of questionable acquisition of art and museum pieces generally? I remember going to museums in London and in particular seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls and being really moved by seeing the actual thing itself. But then thinking, how did that get here?!"
"... I think it is wrong and even dangerous to rewrite history. Those objects were acquired legally (so far as we know), they have been cared for and studied by the museum for hundreds of years, and millions and millions of people see and enjoy them every year. And they see them in the context of representative examples of all of (or by far most of) the world's diverse artistic cultures. Of course the museum should be willing to loan them (and as offered to) other museums around the world. But I don't see a legal or moral claim against the museum's ownership of them."
Jim Cuno

"You're mingling with people at a high society event and the conversation gets competitive. People start trying to impress each other by name dropping, talking about their charitable donations, etc. You say something that trumps all and wins the conversation. What did you say?"
"How are your children?"
Jim Cuno

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