This is tough. I agree with the Friends of the Barnes Foundation, the city of
Philadelphia stole the Barnes Collection by creating loopholes in Barnes’ will, however, I want to be able to see the greatest collection of art in the , so maybe I’m OK with that. United States
The Art of the Steal chronicles Albert C. Barnes’ life from a poor Philly boy to rich, successful pharmaceutical businessman who starts buying art by Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, and other great artists before museums were vying for their work. He created the Barnes Foundation as a school for artists and the students are the only people welcome to view the $25 billion art collection. He didn’t want this to be a museum, but a study of art, and he didn’t want the art displayed on empty white walls, like it would have been in a gallery. He was so adamant about the experience viewers had with the art that he put a will together stating the art could never be moved or sold.
After he died in 1951 the story gets interesting. Everyone wants this collection, some, like the Friends of the Barnes Foundation, want the building and art preserved as Barnes wanted it, and others want the works to be accessible to more people.
The movie is completely one sided. Although they do say that most of the people who worked to get the art moved to
turned down invitations to be interviewed for the movie. But I can’t help feel like I’ve met the Friends of the Barnes Foundation during my years of covering city council for a small town. Community activists can be … tiring. Philadelphia
So here’s the dilemma – I agree, Barnes bought this art, it was his to do with what he wanted. And what the city did is wrong. What if tomorrow they decide my car needs to be in a museum, can they take it? So, of course, they shouldn’t be able to just do what they want with it, especially since he was very specific about what he wanted. And you have to watch the movie to really understand why he wanted the art to stay in the suburbs. He has compelling reasons. But this isn’t one painting, or five. This is $25 billion of art. So, even though I think it’s wrong, I will go see the collection once it moves to
in 2012. Philadelphia
Sorry Mr. Barnes.