Thursday, April 28, 2005

Suggestions for the Barnes

The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is a strange and wonderful place, a tiny museum whose riches exhaust even the most experienced visitor -- Rosseaus are placed next to African heads, heaps of peach-colored Renoirs almost leave you jaded toward that artist, chairs and hinges cram themselves in among the paintings. But Barnes had definite ideas, and, however offbeat, they often cause you to see things in a new way.

Now it appears that the era of Barnes' vision of his art being seen in an isolated suburban retreat is about to come to an end, as financial woes and neighborhood pressures push administrators to look to the city for help, which means relocating amidst the museums and avenues of downtown. Slate Magazine uses this occasion to give an overview of recent trends in museum design (see the slideshow, with wonderful commentary), discussing the effects and constraints of some famous buildings and couching it in terms of how it might fit, or fight, the quite distinctive voice of the Barnes collection. Worth a trip -- both the current museum, while it lasts, and this fascinating virtual voyage.

(via boing boing)

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