Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bonfire of the Vanity

As a follow up to Peter Friedman's excellent response below, here's a question for the folks who are outrageously outraged by the move of the Barnes (and I hasten to add that I thought the Barnes should stay put):

What if Barnes's Will had provided that the works were to be exhibited in Merion for exactly 50 years -- and then were to be burned in a big bonfire?

Should we honor donor intent in that case?

Or can we agree that sometimes the public interest trumps the donor's intent?

(The Art Market Monitor has been asking a version of this question for some time now.)