Saturday, May 26, 2012

"[T]he argument that we should uphold Barnes’s wishes in perpetuity, simply because he had the legal rights to these objects at the time of his death, is stupid."

Still catching up on all the reactions to the new Barnes building.  Somehow I missed this one, from Whitney Kimball at Art Fag City, including this response to those who believe the move will discourage future donations:

"[C]ollectors should know that circumstances will fast outstrip any plans for the future. Decisions will inevitably be made, and each generation will have to ensure that the work is handled responsibly for a little while. Nobody should expect to make personal, preferential demands of a future world; if they succeed, that only makes us a bunch of suckers."

Jerry Saltz shows up in the comments and agrees:

"Art-police and purists who argue for the strictures of owners are often not arguing for ART. Let my people go!  (My 'people' being art, not my fellow Jews.)"

And, also in the comments, AFC's Will Brand says:

"All we're saying is that the guy probably wasn't so awesome that we need to listen to him 60 years after his death."

As I said the other day, the overwhelming consensus is that the new building is a great success.  There are still some inflexible diehards who somehow see:

the exact same art,

hung in the exact same way,

but with better lighting,


a total disaster, a worst-case example of philistinism.

But, as one of the philistines, architecture critic Paul Goldberger, said, nothing would please the fundamentalists except a return to the way things were.