Saturday, April 28, 2007

Barnes News (UPDATED)

In her Friday "Inside Art" column, Carol Vogel reported that the Barnes Foundation has announced its short list of six architects being considered to design its new building in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Inga Saffron has more, including the following on how the legal posture will affect the architecture:

"As a result of restrictions imposed by the court after a protracted legal battle, the foundation is obliged to replicate the exact arrangement of its existing galleries within the envelope of the new, larger museum. It also must hang the art collection assembled by founder Albert Barnes in the precise way he arranged it on the walls of his former Merion home. Some maintain the Barnes will even have to re-create its burlap wallpaper. Depending on how the court order is interpreted, the Barnes' new galleries could end up feeling a bit like frozen-in-time period rooms within the new museum shell."

UPDATE: Art historian Michael Lewis has some thoughts:

"According to the court decision, the new building must replicate exactly the layout, proportion, and materials of the original galleries, as well as Barnes’s famously eccentric hanging scheme. There is little scope for invention, other than in the way this simulacrum is to be enclosed. I spoke with Andrew Blanda, of the Philadelphia firm Sandvold/Blanda, who was interviewed for the Inquirer article. His prediction: 'I’m betting that the effect will be like a chunky jello salad: blocks of galleries encased in a glassy shell of nebulous public space.'"