Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Art of the Steal
I just read the cover story of the current Philadelphia City Paper on the new film "The Art of the Steal" (watch the trailer / learn more over at IFC).
In a nutshell, there is an absolutely stunning art collection in the Philly suburbs called The Barnes Foundation. City officials and other shady characters want the collection moved to the same area as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rodin Museum. Albert C. Barnes HATED Center City Philadelphia and put in his will that the collection was not to be moved after his death. The shady folks are moving the collection anyway. That's what this documentary is all about and I am really looking forward to seeing it.
In 1993 or so I went to The Barnes Foundation and was blown away. It is easily one of the greatest collections of art I have seen. I absolutely understand why people like those behind "The Art of the Steal" want it to stay in it's original place.
The standout memory of my visit to The Barnes was seeing an unpublished Hieronymus Bosch painting of hell. Not only was it instantly my favorite Bosch painting but it was totally naked on the wall. No barrier, no glass, no alarms, just some black tape on the floor. So I put my face a matter of an inch or so from the paint and took in every possible detail. This is my single best experience with a work of art in my entire life.
If you can, try to see The Barnes before it's moved. It will be worth the trouble.
LATE ADDITION 3.5.10: I just saw the documentary and it is AMAZING. Must see!
More importantly: Shame on all the people involved in moving The Barnes Foundation. What a fucking travesty.