Sat 26 May, 2012 10:36 am
The new Barnes,located on the Ben Franklin Parkway in an area known as Phildelphias Avenue of the ARts, is having its grand opening this weekend. Its free and the rich bitch week has already happened so we mortals can now use the mueum and gawk at the major collection that Barnes assembled (not by himself, but by an agent he commissioned to "Buy up everything thats good") Howebver thats another story.
The museum, after 15 years of fighting and copurt proceedings to break Dr Barnes will, has finally been built and is almost a square foot by square foot cover of the original Barnes museum in Merion Pa.
From the web site that has been trailering the musuems opening , I quote
After years of planning and construction, its time to celebrate the highly anticipated opening of the new Barnes Foundation campus on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Beginning May 19, 2012, the campus will open to the public with ten days of free admission. The inaugural week celebration comes to a spectacular close with a Memorial Day festival weekend starting at 12 noon on May 26 and ending on May 28 at 6 p.m.
Reservations are required. Click here for more information.
The new 93,000-square-foot, two-story building, designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, is described as a “gallery in a garden, a garden in a gallery.” Boasting a textured grey-and-gold Ramon limestone exterior and a glass canopy that glows at night, the building is a breathtaking addition to the Parkway Museum District.
The four-and-a-half acre landscaped grounds reference the Barnes Arboretum in Merion, which will reopen in the late summer of 2012. In addition, the building boasts a number of sustainable features, including a green roof and permeable surfaces that allow for rain and grey water re-use.
But the true draw is the Barnes Collection featuring 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Prendergrast, Titian and Picasso.
The 12,000-square-foot gallery preserves the scale, proportion and configuration of the original Merion location. The priceless works are symmetrically arranged according to size, and often paired with artifacts and furniture (think: African sculpture, Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, antique Chinese paintings) organized around themes and formal elements. The scheme is the physical manifestation of the teachings of the man who collected the works, Albert C. Barnes.
When you look at it, 12000 square feet isnt relly a lot of space (The Philly Art Museum is over 4 acres of interior space). BArnes made his collection a hodge podge of paintings hung often 3 or 4 levels high and mixed with tools and artifacts of various cultures.
Its the biggy event in the US art world this year
The Philadelphia Story
The Barnes Collection’s splendid new building can’t vanquish art claustrophobia. —Justin Davidson
Yet maybe, just maybe, the old kook knew what he was doing. —Jerry Saltz
Read two opposing views on the new building recently in New York Magazine.
(inasmuch as I have no plans to be anywhere near Eastern Pennsylvania in the forseeable near future but would love to hear others' opinions)
Me too - and any links to interesting articles you've seen about it too, like Tsar did, if you (anyone following this reading news about it) have the time.
New York was in the mix to suborn the Branes collection. However, Philly, always the center of the "steal" had out smarted the Barnes foundation, the other art interests and now it sits on the parkway.
Im not saying it was a nice deal, it wasnt. But the only guy who got screwed was Bares himself
I liked the line in Saptz' article that art is only kept by temporary caretakeres. Perhaps what many people see in the juxtapositioning of the art and artifacts will one day be lost as the art is moved to a different display mode.
I can report that there is one MAnet "Odilisque" that, next to it, included a Pa Dutch cast Iron hinge that had a shape of spread legs. I think Barnes was not above some really vulgar humor in his collection.
Im sure thye Philly Inquirer will have a special BArnes section in the Sunday Art section. (If they dont they are stupider than Ive accused them of already being)
I've been doing a bit of reading into the background to the "controversial" decision to relocate the museum.:
Barnes Foundation's disputed relocation is upheld by judge:
Philadelphia’s Reopened Barnes Foundation Puts Its Masterpieces in a Better Light:
Interesting, very interesting.
But if this means that many more people will have access to the artworks, then it's hard to argue with the relocation. That's what I think, anyway.
And what a brilliant collection, & all in one place! Huge. Wow.
It looks great!
Sideshow: the new Barnes:
Thank you olga. I just got back from West Virginia.
Video tours of the museum. I haven't watched them all 9 of them.
I really want to see this collection. Fascinating story behind it all.
Find a podcast or a transcript of "The Art of the STeal". Its about how the whole thing was accomplished.
going to the Barnes this qeek. Mrs F and I will get a train from Coatesville to Philly and back. We could take a train rom Lancaster but there arent hourly return trains like there are to the stops i Chester County (Chester County is more Philly" bedroom" community.
Im really looking forward to it , we will eat dinner at a great restaurant.
Please report back - museum and restaurant.
That was covered quite thoroughly i "The ARt of the Steal". This was a documentary about how the Barnes got its new house and how the Custodial board member , Lincoln University, was moved aside by bribery and promises of new ed complexes at the Univerity. (Lincoln U has almost doubled its classroom ize in leass than 5 years. Coincidence? I think not.
I kept seeing that movie title online streaming like Amazon Prime, etc.... I guess I'll try to watch it this weekend.
Premiering Friday on PBS, an hour long documentary:
The Barnes Collection
I was scrolling through my pictures and found this (from our trip to Philly).
we taped the PBS show before we left home. We will return tomorow and see if it was any good.
Ive been mesing around the Appalachian Front for a chapter and today we stopped at Fllingwater again. The house is really showing its age. The concrete is starting to spall off around the window frames. The repairs that were done in 2002 really straightened out the main cantiliever over the Bear Run falls.
Theres no AC in the place so its very very humid when its hot (like it was today)