Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Is the corpse's former intent all we care about?"

I missed this post on the Barnes by Peter Friedman last week:

"Barnes’ original bequest might have forbidden the move, but the result of his restriction, 60 years after his death, was the closing off of a multi-billion dollar collection of art to the wider public, strife between the Foundation and its neighbors, and a threat to the very existence of the Foundation itself. Isn’t it at least arguable that satisfying much of Barnes’ obvious intent — precisely how the art is housed and shown — while making it accessible to the world in a location where it is welcome is a reasonable effort to accommodate what he would have wanted? And isn’t it appropriate that we have institutions like courts to decide [between] that reasonable argument [and] the opposing one (Barnes stated in his bequest the collection should never be moved, so it should never be moved, even if there are circumstances now that he did not anticipate and we could not predict his reaction to)?"