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My Huffington Post Piece: “Bogus Barnes Foundation: Fake Galleries, Phony Populism”

Dark night of the Barnes
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

I’ve already touched on some aspects of my reaction to the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, here and here.

But I’ve saved my lead piece—Bogus Barnes Foundation: Fake Galleries, Phony Populism—for the more widely read Huffington Post. It’s just gone up this evening on the site.

So take an early look at my exploration of how the new Barnes has not only betrayed the core value of museums (“to defend the glory of the original against the taint of the spurious”), but has also failed, thus far, to achieve its own stated goals—accessibility to the “plain people” and financial security.

I plan eventually to follow through on my promise to supplement my previous Barnes posts with an “irreverent photo essay.” But tomorrow morning is reserved for a family event: I have a fabulous, very cuddly week-old grandnephew (born while I was away in Philly) and we will gather at his home for a traditional Jewish male ritual. (Enough said.)

For an alternate take on the new Barnes, Peter Schjeldahl‘s review in the New Yorker also was recently posted. Having visited it for the first time in 2004 [what took so long?] and declared himself dead set against the planned move, he has now become a Philly Barnes convert.

I have some theories about how and why the general turnabout in critical opinion among several important reviewers has happened, but I’m going to save that for a lecture I’ve been asked to give at a Middlebury College, Vermont, this fall.

My assignment: to discuss “the role of contemporary art criticism and commentary as it relates to museums.”

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