The LA Times has an article detailing what authors Tom Freudenheim and Robert Zaller think may be the beginning of the end for the Barnes Foundation, as it prepares for its move to Center City Philadelphia. Here are some of the highlights:
- •The operating budget of the new location is at least twice the amount it was in Merion, PA.
- •”It is obvious that a fraction of the resources being spent to move the Foundation, whose annual deficit has never exceeded $1 million, could preserve the Barnes in Merion.”
- •”The Barnes Foundation has never drawn more than 60,000 visitors a year, and even assuming that an attendance level of 180,000 could be met, it is difficult to imagine it being sustained. Magnificent as it is, the Barnes collection is fixed and static by indenture and court order, even to the manner of its display. The Barnes will not be able to mount changing exhibitions without additional revenue, let alone compete with the blockbuster shows that its neighbor and new competitor, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, relies on.”
- •”There may yet be another day in court for the Barnes. An advocacy group, the Friends of the Barnes, has filed suit to reopen the question of the move based on statements by former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell and former Atty. Gen. Mike Fisher in the documentary film, “The Art of the Steal,” in which they boast of their role in forcing the Barnes board of trustees to cede operational control of the institution to nominees of the Pew Charitable Trusts. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.”