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Barnes Chooses Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

They’ve named their architects. Now all they need is the site, an end to the legal challenges, an architectural design (which has not yet been completed), and the ability to get it done at $100 million (or, failing that, more funds to augment the wishful-thinking construction budget).
But Barnes Foundation officials should discreetly abandon their unconvincing, sanctimonious pose of honoring the intent of the founder, Albert Barnes. The Barnes’ chairman, Benjamin Watson, asserted in today’s press release:
On the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation’s new art education center will be available to everybody. It was Dr. Barnes himself who said that art is not just for the elite, it’s for the ‘plain people who work every day in offices, shops and factories,’ and it is our job to carry out his legacy.
Moving the collection is no way to “carry out his legacy,” as expressed in his trust indenture. It this is clearly about art for the tourist people. The “plain people” get to have a youth detention center in their neighborhood.
For more on the status of the Barnes’ plans, go to the Philadelphia Inquirer and NY Times.
For a bracing corrective: One Last Try to Keep Barnes Art in Its Original Home by Christopher Knight in today’s LA Times.

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