Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"The idea of a 'theft' requires that the 'thing' stolen is actually taken from someone"

Barnes Foundation general counsel Brett Miller has a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, in response to their review of "The Art of the Steal." He says:

"The basic allegation of the film ... is that the Barnes collection was somehow 'hijacked' or 'stolen.' The idea of a 'theft' requires that the 'thing' stolen is actually taken from someone. The reality is that the Barnes board remains in control of the foundation; no members of the Pew Charitable Trust, Annenberg or Lenfest Foundation serve on the board, and Lincoln University nominees represent more than a third of the board."

It is strange how it's not enough for some people to say "I disagree with the decision the board made to move the collection to Philadelphia." Instead it has to be THEFT CONSPIRACY ELEVENTY. As Miller points out, the theft-ists' story is that the Barnes board, in voting to move four-and-a-half miles down the road, stole the museum from . . . um, I'm not sure who exactly. The whole thing is kind of incoherent, really.

(I add here my usual disclaimer that I would have preferred to see the museum stay in Merion.)