Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Art of the Steal Playing at the Piazza!

This Friday, July 2, 2010, The Art of the Steal will be playing on the big screen at the Piazza in Northern Liberties, as part of their Friday Night Flea and a Movie. For those of you who have yet to see the documentary, or would like to experience it on the big screen, now is your chance! This a a free event, so you have no excuse.

The Piazza is located at: North Second Street and Germantown Avenue, Below Girard in Philadelphia

Why So Defensive? Barnes on the Parkway's Recently Updated FAQ

It seems that the growing momentum of the campaign against the Barnes on the Parkway, and increased media coverage brought about by the Art of the Steal documentary has put the Barnes Foundation on edge. They have recently included new posts in their FAQ's that are highly defensive and inaccurate in their attempt to deflect criticism.
The Capital Assistance Budget Direct "Appropriation"

Some opponents of the move have erroneously alleged that there was a $107 million state appropriation already in state coffers available to the Foundation before it filed its petition to the court to move the Collection- and that this information was intentionally withheld from the court. In fact, the so-called "appropriation" was only part of a publicly available wish list of projects in the Commonwealth's Capital Assistance Budget. The dollar amount of this "wish list" represented almost 10 times what the Commonwealth was authorized to spend and would have required the Commonwealth to issue bonds to raise any of the money. Of this wish list, $100 million was designated for a new building in Philadelphia and would not have helped the Foundation's chronic operating deficits in Merion. This information was not intentionally withheld from the court, nor does it change the fundamental reasons the Barnes went to court in an effort to further its mission on more stable and sustainable footing.

Stay tuned for a thorough dissection these statements after they are given the “truth treatment”.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Follow Us!

Take part in the battle against the Barnes on the Parkway! Join our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter for even more articles and updates. Also, be sure to sign our petition to show your support!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Examiner Philadelphia: Barnes Joins Franklin Parkway 'Culture Gulch'

In his article "Barnes Foundation Joins Philadelphia Museum's Franklin Parkway 'Culture Gulch,'" Richard Carreno, of the Examiner Philadelphia illustrates the "ongoing makings of the Barnes Foundation museum kabuki." Carreno also gives a first hand account of the bizarre Barnes groundbreaking ceremony that took place in November, 2009, and points out the lack of any real progress since.
"Thanks to the Foundation's website, interested parties can also keep visually au courant with building progress. Yes, the foundation has installed a Parkway Webcam, updated every 15 minutes. It's something like watching water boil. Substitute water for a spade digging a hole."

"Day by day, at the corner of 21st Street, it's the city's most culture-vulture public building project, a 'Barnes raising' like no other. Sorry, Albert. Your 'playpen' has, too, gone all Establishment."
Read the full post here. Don't forget to sign our petition if you haven't already.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Changing Skyline: Barnes on the Parkway threatens city landmarks.

As construction of the new Barnes looms over the landscape of the parkway, local developers are ready to reap the benefits of this underhanded project. Inga Saffron, the architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, recently discussed the changing environment surrounding the parkway brought about by the possibility of Barnes. Saffron specifically sites the old granary on 20th Street north of Callowhill, for which architect Brian Phillips has created a plan for Pearl Properties that would add 12 new floors to the top of the existing 142-foot structure.

Philadelphia was once a distribution center for grain to the farmlands of Pennsylvania, and the granary on 20th is the only one of its kind remaining in the city. The Reading Grain Elevator was built in 1925, on the site of a grain elevator that had been there since the Civil War. In 1977, visionary interior designer Kenneth Parker purchased the granary, and converted the top floors to apartments. Although the preservation of this historic building hasn't been an issue for the past thirty years, Pearl Properties intends to cash in on the Parkway boom with their high-rise addition.

Saffron points out that the addition to the granary requires several major zoning variances and Historical Commission approval. This is a great example of how the city of Philadelphia, like in the moving of the Barnes from Lower Merion, is not afraid to bend the rules if it means money in the bank.

Read the article here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"The Greatest Art Exhibit in the World!--Bar None!" Visitor Reviews of the Barnes Foundation

If you're still not convinced that the Barnes Foundation is better suited in its original Lower Marion location, take a minute to read some visitor reviews of the museum on Tripadvisor. Take into account that these people were not paid to write these reviews, nor do they have any hidden political agenda. There is a not a single review that doesn't rave about the museum, and almost every writer stresses the fact that the art and space work together to create the full experience. It is also important to note how adamant these reviewers are about keeping the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, even after their first visit.

"It's well worth it to see it here, in it's original home, before it moves." - stevinazo, New York

"There are plans to move the collection to the city (Benjamin Franklin Blvd).....it will remove the adventure and slight sense of exclusivity the Collection currently enjoys. I fear that the move will make it just another tourist destination." -porotodean, Australia

Extraordinary - Hurry and Visit Before They Turn It into Just Another Museum!” -ItalinanAgain, Washington, DC

Read all the reviews here, and start planning your own trip to the real Barnes. Be sure to sign our petition to keep the Barnes where it's supposed to be.

FOX News: Art and Politics Collide on the Streets of Philadelphia

In this recent article by James Rosen of FOX News, Rosen covers the continued efforts by the Friends of the Barnes to save this historic Lower Merion establishment. For those who haven't had a chance to visit the Barnes in person, the article describes the careful thought that Barnes put into the presentation of each piece in his collection. This is what makes the Barnes experience truly unique, and why Barnes' vision clearly cannot be recreated in a giant museum on the Parkway.
"Paintings in which sunlight is seen coming from the right are thus hung so that the sunlight bursting through a nearby window will come from the same direction. Paintings in which the subject is viewed from below eye level are accordingly positioned above eye level. Three similar pieces by the same artist will hang in the same spot in three successive rooms, so that they may be viewed, when the visitor stands in just the right spot, in succession. The sketch that formed the basis of a virtuoso painting might be found lurking playfully around the corner from the painting itself."

"The Barnes Foundation is a complex of nature, of art, of architecture, that was created by a man who had a vision of how to share works of art -- and the surrounding arboretum -- in a very unique, particular way, where things relate to one another," said Evelyn Yaari, a member of the Friends of Barnes. "There are other assets that the Barnes Foundation has access to, if they wanted to use those assets, to fund the continued residence here in Merion as an intact site....The [Barnes Foundation] board that exists today is not of people who are from this community, or from the community of people who have studied at the Barnes...”
Read the full article here. Help save the Barnes by signing our petition!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Plight of the Barnes Foundation Featured in The Weekly Standard

Lance Esplund recently wrote a terrific article in the Weekly Standard about The Barnes collection and the atrocity that is being committed by the city of Philadelphia by moving it.

"Artworks still have power. But that power hangs in the balance. Recently, museums have come to resemble entertainment complexes. They are all expanding, and they are all starting to look the same. In predictable, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses fashion, the architect Renzo Piano, who butchered the Morgan Library, is now designing the expansion of the Gardner. But bigger isn’t always better. Museums are living institutions. They flourish in variety. If we persist in homogenizing these institutions at the present rate, it won’t be long before all that remains of the Barnes Foundation—and perhaps the collections of New York’s Frick, Washington’s Phillips, and London’s Soane—will be a catalogue in the way there remains a catalogue of the John G. Johnson Collection (which the Philadelphia Museum of Art absorbed against the dead benefactor’s explicit wishes nearly a century ago). What’s next: Will the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Governor Rendell, and the Pew Family Trusts bring Falling Water to the mall on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway?"
Read the full article here. Don't forget to sign our petition to SAVE THE BARNES!

The Art of the Steal (Movie Trailer) (2010)

Have a look at the trailer for The Art of the Steal, a new full-length documentary surveying the historical nature of The Barnes Foundation and the corrupt forces that have hijacked it. Here is a brief synopsis:
"An un-missable look at one of the art worlds most fascinating controversies and a celebrated selection of the Toronto, New York and AFI Film Festivals, Don Argotts gripping documentary THE ART OF THE STEAL chronicles the long and dramatic struggle for control of the Barnes Foundation, a private collection of art valued at more than $25 billion. In 1922, Dr. Albert C. Barnes formed a remarkable educational institution around his priceless collection of art, located just five miles outside of Philadelphia. Now, more than 50 years after Barnes death, a powerful group of moneyed interests have gone to court for control of the art, and intend to bring it to a new museum in Philadelphia. Standing in their way is a group of Barnes former students and his will, which contains strict instructions stating the Foundation should always be an educational institution, and that the paintings may never be removed. Will they succeed, or will a mans will be broken and one of Americas greatest cultural monuments be destroyed?"The DVD will be released on July 27th, so be sure to purchase it from Amazon.
Also, sign our petition to SAVE THE BARNES!

What Does This Man Have in Common With the City of Philadelphia

Between 1939 and 1945, the Nazis plundered thousands of prices artworks from
museums and private collections across occupied Europe
. While Third Reich
officials established their own private collections of looted art, Hitler
also sought to create a museum in his hometown of Linz to display many of
the stolen works.

The City of Philadelphia and its intent to destroy the Barnes Foundation and
move its art collection to the Parkway against the wishes of Alfred Barnes
are no different than Hitler’s attempt to acquire art from across Europe and
move it to a newly created institution in Linz. Help us stop the blatant destruction of yet another global heritage site.

Help save the Barnes by signing our petition!