« Previous | Culture Monster Home | Next »

The Barnes Foundation and Gov. Ed Rendell

October 17, 2008 | 10:30 am

Barnes_foundation_cezanne_renoir If you thought the financial crisis facing the Barnes Foundation circa 2000 was the reason that the irreplaceable school with the amazing Post-Impressionist and early Modern art collection was being uprooted from its rightful suburban home and moved to a quasi-museum in downtown Philadelphia, you haven't been paying attention.

Of course, you could be forgiven for that. The Barnes saga is nothing if not long, tangled and rife with smoke-filled back rooms where strings were pulled and shady deals struck.

A small nugget, however, was buried in Wednesday's ceremonial ground-breaking for the Barnes Foundation's controversial new home on the Ben Franklin Parkway. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

"I think it's been 14 or 15 years since [art patron] Ray Perelman first came to me with this idea to move the Barnes," Gov. [Ed] Rendell noted during his remarks. He announced yesterday that the state was raising its contribution to the project from $25 million to $30 million.

Barnesologists (not to be confused with Kremlinologists or mixologists) take note: Near as I can tell, that's the first official declaration that the move -- or, as Barnes chronicler John Anderson once called it in the Wall Street Journal, the “legal theft” -- of the collection has been in the works since 1993 or 1994. Also new is that Rendell, then mayor of Philadelphia, is taking credit (or assuming blame).

That the idea was first pushed by Perelman, former board chairman at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has long been known. He floated it to guests at the gala 1995 dinner celebrating the return of the collection to suburban Merion, following its controversial world tour.

At least one person was apoplectic about Rendell's, er, ground-breaking remarks. Mark D. Schwartz, the voluble attorney originally hired (but later fired) by opponents of the move, shot off a blistering letter to the governor. Read it after the jump.

October 16, 2008

Edward G. Rendell, Governor
The Commonwealth of PA.
Room 225
Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

        Re: Kudos on Your Taking Credit for the Barnes Move

Dear Ed:

    I always appreciate a politician who is candid, especially those who are candid to a fault. Take for example your quote in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer: “I think it’s been 14 or 15 years since [art patron] Ray Perelman first came to me with this idea to move the Barnes.”

    As the attorney who filed the Petition to Reopen the Barnes Proceedings in the Orphans Court of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, I must tell you that your public remarks go the distance in validating that Petition that the Court did not want to consider.  You made short shrift of the Barnes’ Foundation phony argument of a sudden lack of funds and change of circumstances. You and I both know that this was a well coordinated heist.

    With the help of some significant others, your successful breaking the terms of what Dr Barnes’ legally put in place is seen as a travesty in Estates and Trusts circles across the country. But then again, those folks aren’t amongst your one true constituency, your fundraisers. What you orchestrated portrays Pennsylvania as a place where political machinations, interlocking relationships and the misuse of taxpayer money overcame the rule of law. The question remains whether what happened here will be seen as a horrendous aberration or precedent setting. But then again, you probably don’t lose any sleep over that issue.

          So, please let me extend my congratulations to you and your cronies. I am only sorry that I was not afforded the opportunity to elicit this same testimony from you on the witness stand. Perhaps some day on this or something else……………..


                         Mark D. Schwartz

-- Christopher Knight

Photo: Reuters

Comments () | Archives (13)

You'd think the rest of the Country & The Hollywood Artists might be more interested in stopping this gross affront to Our Honored War Dead. In 1922 Architect, Dr. Paul Cret began his work designing The Barnes Limestone Mansion intended to House the now $20bn Art Collection. This Mansion is specially adorned with unusual cubist Sculpture by Jaques Lipchitz. In 1926 Dr. Cret also won the privilege to design a memorial at Flanders Field Cemetery in Belgium. Flanders Field, American Cemetery 1252, became a symbol and place of Honor for our WWI War Dead. Lindbergh Flew over it in May 1927 and famously tossed a wreath to the crowd below. Some say that Cret was so impressed by The Barnes development that he was affected by this in his design of the very odd 'one man' chapel at Flanders Field Cemetery. Some say this one man chapel symbolized a passageway for the Souls of our War Dead to return to the Peace and Beauty of The Barnes, a place they would never see. These are subtle and private themes unique to Dr. Cret and Americans have no idea of the complexity of The Barnes issue - which is difficult to fathom because it is so intellectual on a variety of levels; and, that is why it is so easy for Philly Special Interests to desecrate this magnificent and sacred place in the name of pumping-up the tourist trade. The Moneychangers who are disturbing The Barnes in Merion are Foundations you are supposed to Trust with your Culture - Annenberg, Pew, Lenfest, William Penn - they are nothing except pawns of the Philly Luxury Barnes Tower developers & Philly Money. Philadelphia used to stand for free expression. Now it stands for the desecration of American Pride and of one patriot's deeply personal homage to the War Dead of his Time.
"In Flanders Field, the poppies blow/between the crosses row on row/That Ark our place, and in the sky/The larks still bravely singing, fly/scarce heard amid the guns below./We are the Dead . . . and now we lie in Flanders Fields./Take up our quarrel with the Foe; to you from failing hands we throw/the torch; be yours to hold it high,/If ye break faith with us who die/we shall not sleep, though Poppies grow in Flanders Fields." Maj. John McRae (d.1918), physician, outside an Aid Station., Ypres Belgium 1915. And the response of a sweet souled lady of the time: "Oh you who sleep in Flanders Fields,/Sleep Sweet - to rise anew,/We caught the Torch you threw,/And holding high we kept/The Faith of those who died./We cherish too, the poppy red/That grows on fields where valor led./ . . . Fear Not that ye have died for naught/We've learned the lesson that ye taught/In Flanders' Fields." Miss Moina Belle Michael (1918). Keep Help Keep the Barnes in Merion and Keep The Faith. BarnesFriends.org

The Barnes Foundation in Merion is also a School. It is the living lesson plan of John Dewey, The First President of The American Society of College Professors. Dewey is sometimes referred to as The Father of Modern Higher Education in America. John Dewey taught Philosophy and the design of the Barnes Mansion Garden and Arboretum is discussed in classes which are still held there today as a paradigm for the Eastern Religion Reductive Experience. The Paradigm of The Garden is discussed in relation to Lipchitz' Sculptures which adorn Cret's Building. Then, the lesson is taken inside and used, together with the Lipchitz renditions, in talking about the specially arranged art & metalwork in the Mansion's galleries.

The Garden is terraced in such a way that if it is explored just right, it produces the feeling of a phenomenologial reductive experience. This is produced by the placement of the rose bushes, for instance, spaced on zig-zagging cement paths one point, which confront the visitor to divert from her course on the main garden path to these zig-zagging paths and to diffuse anxiety before proceeding deeper into the gardens . . . and, ultimately, into the trees and the deep, cool forest of the 12 arce campus where you will find a pool of goldfish and a stone tea house. The entire place is enchanted.

Up closer to the mansion, the visitor will find a strange large black iron oval - with a black iron hammer chained to it. Some say it is a fire alarm. I like to think that it was designed to usher in Cret's Honored Souls.

The goal of John Dewey and Dr. Albert Coombs Barnes was to create an objective transcendental setting to provide visitors with an unending series of 'new' and inspirational subjective epistemological experiences with a timeless currency. Sometimes, it is best described in the context of the iconoclast debates within the Catholic Church - the use of icons or forms to assist in spiritual understanding. Like the iconoclats, or perhaps, in a way, unlike them, The Barnes is a unique way of trying to create a language of hermeneutical or philosophical understanding. The Barnes School is also designed to teach viewing skills like design, line, color, spatial & thematic relationships.

But Barnes was also hot on the trail of Art at, arguably, the most pivotally important time in Art History. He owns Cezanne's The Bathers & The CardPlayers (there are 69 in all, more than are known to be in all of Paris), 181 Renoirs, 16+ Modiglianis, Matisse's Joy of Life (the Best Matisse Collection Outside of Russia), Picasso's The Peasants, VanGogh's Postman, Monet's Self-Portrait, The House Boat . . . and hundreds of others. Even Matisse helped when he did a special painting in the gallery itself to fit the building which supposedly should not be expected to be moved - another disgusting and disgraceful effect of this Proposed Move. The Proposed Move does violence to American Education in America and strikes at the very Heart of American Constitutional Free Exercise and Free Expression and it should not be permitted. Please Help Keep The Barnes In Merion Station.

If Montgomergy County can't manage the traffic, Put an Orientation/Edutainment Barnes Welcome Center at the Parkway ArtJail Site with a monorail thru Fairmount Park to the Preserved Barnes Foundation Museum, Gardens, Arboretum and Art Collection in its original state in Merion Station, PA. This will Keep The Barnes In Its Home In Merion Station.

The two posts above, unfortunately, accurately reflect the mentality of many of the nut cases who have been fighting to keep the Barnes collection hidden from the public. Now while I do agree with Christopher Knight that the tactics - and the legality of the case - of the proponents of the move are questionable at best. But the end result is going to be allowing open of the world's great public art collections to actually be seen by the public.

Now I am of the few - the very few - who manged to get into the Barnes during one of a visits to Philadelphia - but only once - briefly - after several unsuccessful attempts. Alas, unlike Mr. Knight, members of the public have a much harder time gaining access. And while I do not necessarily object to the salon style hanging - many of the paintings I most wanted to see were hung so high as to make proper viewing of them, impossible - and many others I had never seen reproduced before were also hung far too high to see.

The question then is, if almost everyone agrees some changes needed to be made, once you start to change the conditions in the will to better allow the collection to be seen - at what point does 'doing right' become 'doing wrong'?

Did I strike a nerve Mr. Westwater?

I was just at The Barnes for five hours and there were less than 100 people. You can plug into Barnesfoundation.org and reserve a space for $12.00, most any time you want. Try it, Mr. Westwater. If It moves to the parkway, entry might raise to maybe, $20.00 - $30.00?

Come visit Mr. Westwater, Abuse happens in secret; so, we want to help everyone to see.

You'll find plenty of poppies in Gallery Two. If you think the Cret historical connection to Flanders Field is a joke, Mr. Westwater, the poppies are in Gallery Two and a depiction of a Flanders Field in the Background of a Flemish Master is against the wall nearest the East Ingress in Gallery Three.

Above the East Ingress in Gallery Three is a metal cylindrical cage, with barbs resembling lightning strikes. The Flanders Field Chapel was struck by lightning in 1935 which took a piece out of it.

Come any time you want folks. Better get here soon before Mr. Westwater's side moves it.

By the way, Mr. Westwater, I'm not the entity embarking upon the use of $107mn in PA Taxpayer matching funds in a dangerous recession while I'm cutting other PA State Services. If I am a nut, what, does this kind of fiscal irresponsibility represent? The PA Govt. are the ones handing this $107mn to the Special-Interests of Philly for this unfortunate move, not me. Hope I helped. Best Wishes to The Barnes Friends.

Note, the Pro-Move people always turn to the "hung too high to see" contention.

The photo above in this article is a good example of what they are talking about, this is European salon-style high stacking but it occurs only in the main gallery with large paintings that are not diminished in effect.

I think Matisse's Joy Of Life hanging in the Stairway is what the Critics really complain about, . . . they'd move this whole museum and spend $300 mn in private and, in the cae of Pew, public, foundation money and public taxpayer money just to move Matisse's Joy of Life. I don't know, most people I talk to like the Joy Of Life right where it is. The BarnesFriends like to think that most people like the way we're hung.

From what I understand, the Judge would require the Proposed Movers to replicate the painting placement downtown anyway; so, I fail to see how the proposed move will address Mr. Westwater's concerns about paintings being "hung to high to see."

The Matisse Mural, personalized by Matisse for Cret's building, is also hung pretty high-up in the window dormers near the Main Gallery, Gallery One, ceiling, . . . but you folks won't have to worry about that one anymore because the rumor is that the Mural won't fit in the proposed new space on the Parkway ArtJail Site so the Matisse Mural won't be coming.

One BarnesFriends counterproposal, if Philadelphia's Private & Public Foundations just have to spend their money, was to propose an Edutainment/Welcome Center on the Parkway: the designers could exploit technology's 'easier way' to bring The Barnes to another location . . . which is to use wall size video screens to display nearly perfect reproductions of these paintings and leave the real ones in Merion.

I don't see why they can't use Disney technology and imagineering to bring the Barnes Paintings that are supposedly "hung to high too see" in brilliant digitized HDTV resolution at eye level for Mr. Westwater's failing eyes. They can explain them all they want on the video screen - even make the name tags bigger.

There are alternatives to all the arguments made by the ProMovers.

One more thing, - Do you know that this Move is apparently so unpopular in Philadelphia that they have two security guards on duty around the clock Just Guarding The Advertising for this Proposed "Barnes On The Parkway" Idea? Check it out. Its true. What a waste of taxpayer money!? Boy, you know something is wrong when you have to guard your proposed "public improvements" from your own citizens. Who are you serving if not your citizens?

Guards with Badges Guarding The Barnes On The Parkway Advertising - This sounds almost Orwellian.

Best Wishes to The Barnes Friends. Keep The Barnes in Merion.

P.S. Mr. Westwater, are you a spammer? My 80-something mother can see all the paintings just fine and she thinks the Barnes should stay in Merion.

I have visited the Barnes many times. Although the process of making and paying for a reservation is antiquated compared to, for example, making a reservation to see a "blockbuster" show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), it does not pose any greater restriction. If you want to get to the Barnes you can. The biggest difference, however, is that when you are in the galleries you can actually SEE the art at the Barnes. When visiting a blockbuster at the PMA or any other large and "accessible" institution it is often difficult to see the art because so many visitors are in the way. Perhaps these institutions should take a cue from the Barnes and hang the work a little higher--so folks in the 2nd and 3rd (or 4th and 5th) row back can actually see the work.

There are so many ways that the issues of the Barnes can be solved WITHOUT moving it. I have NEVER had so emotional an experience with art as I have during every visit to the Barnes. That, I fear will be gone if the Barnes moves and while it brakes Dr. Barnes trust, it also breaks my heart.

After looking at the responses to Christopher Knight’s excellent October 17, 2008 article on Pennsylvania Governor Rendell’s pulling the rug out from under the charade perpetrated by the Barnes Foundation, I think that it is important that I set another part of the record straight: This latest revelation was not brought to life by “The Friends of the Barnes”, but instead was my own.

First, it was my personal letter to Governor Rendell which prompted Mr. Knight’s article and which was quoted therein. It was not written on behalf of “Friends of the Barnes”.

Second, it was my ideas and work product which made for bringing the suit to open the case in the first place. It was also my idea as a former investment banker to propose to Montgomery County, a bond issue that would have provided the endowment that the Judge thought was necessary and provide additional annual earnings for the Barnes. Two separate boards of County commissioners have extended the offer.

Third, the ideas and arguments set forth in the court petition that I prepared for "Friends of the Barnes” was the result of over 500 hours of my original research and work product. It is clear from Governor Rendell’s comments that my allegations were well-founded. In my opinion, this testimony alone would have gone a long way to reverse the decision that the Court had previously made allowing the move.

Finally, let me emphasize that The “Friends of the Barnes” hired me to prepare and present my best case. I did so, but they failed to pay me for my work. When I had to insist upon full payment, they simply insisted that I produce more work. Instead of paying the $103,418.79 that remains due and owing, they fired me, interrupted the case, extended the proceedings to accommodate new counsel, and together lost the case.

From the inception of representation, I worked with a committee of “Friends of the Barnes” consisting of Mr. Aram Jerrehean, Dr. Walter Herman, Ms. Sandra Gross Bressler, and Mr. Jay Raymond. Judging by their lifestyles, as I came to know them, it became clear to me that these people, together with others in “Friends of the Barnes” could easily have matched their repeated public outcries with the financial resources to pay their counsel. They chose not to do so and have remained steadfast in that position.
Uncharacteristically, this is not something they talk about.

As neither “Friends of the Barnes”, nor anyone else for that matter have an exclusive say on what transpired here, you can be assured of hearing more from me on this matter.

Mark D. Schwartz, Esq.

Email: MSchwa6814@aol.com

Reading Mr. Schwartz clears things up.

He's one of those guys who's all about the line in the Moina Belle Micheals poem "on the field where valor led." Sounds like he can sleep at night. Can you?

Everyone has got to do something.

Sounds like Mr. Schwartz did more than most. God Bless you, Sir.

I am hopeful that we may finally have some serious Legislative Reformers emerging in Harrisburg, PA who might be willing to slash the $100+mn PA TAXPAYER MATCHING 11th HOUR 2001 STATE BUDGET 'MOVE THE BARNES' EARMARK, an earmark that I read was passed into law undebated.

The Legislature has already gotten rid of this forsaken 11th hour amendment loophole, so they may now be willing to reconsider this Eleventh Hour 'MOVE THE BARNES' Earmark. This could be very good for all the Barnes In Merion supporters.

This PA Legislative Sea Change and the pending trial of Sen. Fumo is probably why The Pro-Move Side rushed The Barnes On The Ben Franklin Parkway Advertising And Fireworks.

Worthy PA Politicians Are: - Eichelberger (R) From Blair Co. is a good sense kind of guy and should get a letter. One of the Honorable Republican PA Reps. From Lebanon Co., whose name escapes me, seems to also be a good young man who cares about history and honor, he should get a letter. John Morganelli (D) candidate for Att'y Gen. probably needs your money and definitely your vote.

Write Your Representatives, Write Everyone Else's Representatives, Write Often & Write Well. Visit ArtJail.org and send a donation to someone to keep Mr. Schwartz working - that's the kind of lawyer we need.

The 2009 PA Legislature is starting to talk tough about common sense issues and fiscal responsibility. They might just see this Barnes Move as PA's Bridge to Nowhere.

After all, did you see the Mover's education proposal that they are so proud of?

They want to teach 4th graders 'the art and language in art' or something, at the new parkway center (can't they use the HDTV idea for that? - If they kept The Barnes In Merion They could teach the kids about the wondrous Dr. Paul Cret, too, instead of suppressing Cret's importance as they dismantle the contents of Cret's Merion Mansion.)

4th Graders? At that age, even Picasso was a little juvenile. - Dr. Barnes wouldn't even let people under 12 into the galleries.

The Barnes is One of the Greatest and Most Colorful of Pennsylvania's Historical Landmarks.

I can't believe the PA Legislature won't pass a Resolution To Preserve The Barnes Foundation In Merion,. . . Pew, whether it likes it or not, has now made a public trust election, and, even if the PA Legislature makes The Barnes stay in Merion, Pew will probably now have to stay on The Board, with its money and influence, as a matter of maintaining the appearance of philosophical integrity even if Its' long and arduous effort to Move The Barnes to the Parkway is stifled. This would be poetic justice.

I also think Comcast, Blank Rome, Annenberg & Lenfest would look like pouting children if they walked away following a Legislative Resolution enjoining the Move. That means their money and influence would be locked in, too.

To get them all to capitulate, we could offer them the "Barnes Welcome/Orientation Center on The Parkway with a Monorail to The Undisturbed Barnes in Merion" Idea.

They could then actually have a craft and reference standard design Center that might serve a multitude of Elementary, Middle and High School Kids (not just a select class of 4th Graders) by developing, identifying and encouraging complex artistic talents earlyand providing a sophisticated outlet for youthful creatively.

If Pew, Annenberg, Lenfest, William Penn, The Mayor, The developers, &c. care for education - that would be the proper way to ratchet up education. - The kids would even come after school for some of that, it would be like skateboarding or gymnastics to some of these kids. . . and you all know it. It woul be truly great and truly educational. . . and they would have a stair to climb & something to strive for, a visit to the Merion Campus or a graduation to studies there.

You have all of Ker-Feal's furniture and art & ceramics & metalwork and the archives - all of which is barely seen - you could put it in The Welcome Center with a couple of HDTV wall displays and maybe special display space for emerging talent or private or visiting collections.

You could continue to use Ker-Feal on Open Air initiatives. The possiblities are endless and spectacular . . . but you have to have a culturally sensitive and centered disposition.

I hate to say it, but it seems sometimes that the behavior of The Trustees is like that of the Subprime Bankers on Wall Street - It's as if they don't care - they believe they are right and, d-mn you, they might very well rush past you if they can and plunge headlong into their unpopular plan without even understanding The Barnes or Its Mythical and Wondrous Characteristics and True Possiblities.

It should at least go to a Ballot Referendum.

What a Success It Would Be If There Were A Unified Family Working Together With The Trustees To Keep The Barnes In an Undisturbed State In Merion.

Maybe John Morganelli (D) for Atty General will come in on an Obama ticket and he'll take up the torch from our failing hands

Philadelphia's attempt to create a more attractive tourist destination is ironic, because so much of their tourism appeal is about historic places, yet they are participating in destroying a legitimate historic "masterpiece."

The museum will be a Frankenstein monster, modern outside, the strange Barnes galleries inside. The first few years the crowds will make it somewhat unpleasant to visit.

After the initial hype fades, the museum will be competing with the nearby art museum and it's stream of mega-exhibits. For 95% of tourists, the existing art museum and its great collection is enough art for a visit to Philadelphia (the museum also has knights in armor and a japanese tea garden for the kids). The new Barnes will falter and run out of money again. Within 20 years people will realize they've destroyed a precious historic treasure. The state or federal government will make the Merion location a landmark and restore the collection to its original home.

As someone who has spent a great deal of time at the Barnes Foundation in the last year or so, I can tell you that the stipulations given to keep the gallery ensembles in the same order will be violated almost immediately after the collection has been moved to its new home in Philadelphia. Though they'll never admit it, there have been several higher-ups who have commented on the possibilities of hosting guest collections and sharing collections with the Phila. Museum of Art once the collection is moved (the Seurat portrait of three nudes located in the Main Gallery, for instance, would look fantastic next to Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte", currently housed in the Art Institute of Chicago).

Though the style is wanting at moments, Emmeline Babb, of Harvard Law School, wrote a paper entitled "The Public Value and Legal Battles of a Single Donor Museum" in 2007. It reveals some interesting information about the legal battle concerning the Barnes as well as the philosophy of Dr. Barnes in creating his art education institute - his negative attitude toward cities, for example, is quite ironic.

I love how self rightious everyone is now that it is moving. Here is what I remember, wealthy snobs living nearby from the Main Line Merion area, not allowing in buses. "The buses make too much noise", they all cried. People were sooooo interested in keeping the Barnes intact, and it was sooooo important, that they managed to help keep it inaccseable to large enough crowds that could have paid to keep it there, the wonderful people of Merion, the art elite... In addition, pieces of the collection were being used in such a creative fashion, such as door jams.... This facility and collection was so well managed, and the people of the lower main line were so welcoming to the public, if you want to blame someone, blame those that have been resposible for the years of neglect to the cllection and all of the Merion neighbors.

I, for one, can't stand the arguments that try to say the Move is necessary because Merion is full of Mean-spirited people who won't let The Barnes make money. This is sort of crazy.

The blame should lie where it is due, but I suspect that too much went on behind closed doors to probably ever get to the truth.

We need to focus blame now on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The many respected Philadelphia Cultural Institutions that should have been fund raising for The Barnes all along, who stayed on the sidelines. This is what could have saved The Barnes early on and could still save it now.

You can't come in with a condition that they will only save The Barnes if they can dismantle the Art and use it as a draw and an anchor for a Philly Luxury Condo Tower Site.

I'm not from Merion and I still think the Barnes should stay there.

There's lots of people like me. John Morganelli ran on an ANTI-MOVE Ticket in Philly and he won by a MAJOR LANDSLIDE - that means that very few people want the move in Philly. (Pew and Annenberg, the great election result analyzers, should analyze Morganelli's Philly election results.)

I really think that with these kind of landslide VOTER results against the move Pew and Annenberg need to really start thinking about the psychological injury that a Move might inflict upon the whole populace of the City of Philadelphia and upon the self-respect of culturally sensitive Philadelphians.

(By the way, I also think that if buses would be a problem, any traffic issues could be resolved by a Monorail from a Parkway Orientation Center. This is the best way. They should eminent domain that one dormitory West of the Campus and put a receiving area there for the Monorail.)

The Concern for Americans everywhere should be that an important Public Institution is involved, Pew Charitable Trusts.

We go to Pew for our Polling and Surveys and we find that Pew are in the middle of this bizarre and horrible mess.

Pew took no action to try to preserve this American Cultural Treasure, Philadelphia's Monticello, when the chips were down, . . . and in fact, Pew was part of the dark proposed bail out deal that came with strings - "move, or fail" was the kind of ultimatum they gave.

Annenberg is private, but it is still tax exempt. It is just as culpable in all this because it tries to appear objective, "quasi"-public and in full service to the Public interest.

It is these National tax-exempt entities that begin to resemble pond-scum in all of this. What kind of guardians of the public trust are they? Who are we ever to trust to truly shepard and safeguard American Cultural Integrity?

Who can you trust when the entities that you are supposed to trust with your culture offend the very fabric of the culture that they are supposed to protect.

P.S. If Dr. Barnes meant to Honor the same 43 Unknown soldiers that the Mansion's Architect, Dr. Paul Cret, honored in his Flanders Field Chapel, the proposed Move would constitute a desecration of the memories of our honored War dead. Our cultural institutions don't seem to care about any of this. This is a very bad state of affairs in Philadelphia.

PA Legislators: Repeal The Earmark! Keep The Barnes In Merion!

I am so saddened by the outcome of the Barnes Foundation. You WOULD think the Art World, Celebrities and the list could go on an on, would take some interest in preserving something so beautiful and historic with such a pure mission. Why could it not have been preserved as an Historical Landmark or why could not a group of benefactors have joined together to preserve such a unique vision as the one Dr. Barnes had?
Once again, money mongers and thieves have STOLEN what one man WORKED FOR AND OWNED! I guess it really does not matter if you have a Will if the legal system is just going to remove parts of it! Isn't that what the laws of this nation are for; to preserve the rights of it's citizens? It was a PERSONAL collection and it's angering to think the rest of the world feels some sense of entitlement to what HE put together.
I really wish there was a way that a collective outcry could preserve the Barnes Foundation the way Dr. Barnes Willed it to be.


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.