As a Philadelphia native, I have been following the fight over the Barnes Foundation for a few years now, mostly with the help of the newspaper clippings my mom mails me. Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes posted a flurry of posts last week about the legal battle that appears to be heating up again with another move by the Friends of the Barnes Foundation to keep the institution in Merion, PA.
I’ve seen the collection both in its native habitat and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and while I was still wowed by much of the work at PMA, the installation, the building, the location, the gardens, and the ghost of stubborn old Barnes combine to create an artwork much larger than any of its parts.
I’ve been prompted to spend a lot of time thinking about the context of the works in our own museum; as you can see in the image above, Barnes’ installation is jam-packed and those aren’t exactly white walls. Are all white walls created equal, or are there certain places that make or break the artwork? I’ve been trying to brainstorm artworks I’ve seen that I wouldn’t want to see anywhere else.
Another example of Philly pride/stubbornness in the arts: does the effort that halted this move signal hope for Barnes?
Images from http://www.new-york-art.com/e/e-mus-barnes.htm