After Countless Decades and Battles, Barnes Foundation Prepares to Move to Philadelphia

Speaking of embattled museums, as we were in that last post, while you’re all eating hot dogs and accidentally shooting off illegal fireworks into your eyes this weekend, there will be both joy and sadness in Pennsylvania, as the Barnes Foundation collection begins the move from suburban Merion, PA to its new home in downtown Philadelphia. This move, if you’re unfamiliar, has long been a contentious one, as leaving the massive and nearly-priceless collection where it is now and has always been was one of the stipulations of Albert Barnes‘ will. How that decree was broken is the subject of the highly-recommended documentary, The Art of the Steal, which place guilt on nearly every Philadelphia power broker for sneakily destroying the purity of its founder’s vision. While the Friends of the Barnes Foundation have fought tirelessly over the years to stop the move, it appears that their efforts have now failed and the collection will start the transition this Sunday. We’re sure that there’s to be lots more news to come, so throw “Barnes Foundation” into a Google Alert and watch everything pile up. For immediate further reading, Architectural Record has this great report on its soon-to-be new home, a gigantic 93,000 square foot space designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The Telegraph has filed this story on how you go about safely moving millions upon millions of dollars worth art down the highway (hint: it involves a high level of secrecy and getting the FBI to shadow the operation and put to use “decoy armoured trucks”). Last, Karen Heller writes for the Inquirer about visiting the Barnes in Merion for the last time and what the move means in a larger sense, for better or worse.