Pardon me if I bite the hand that feeds me (okay, that provides me with a healthy snack,) but I have to get this off my chest. This weekend seems to be a good time to do it.
The Daily News (and to a greater extent, the Inquirer) have been celebrating the Barnes ‘move’ to Philadelphia. I think ‘move’ in this context is analogous to saying “Patty Hearst was ‘moved’ from her home by the Symbionese Liberation Army.”
The Barnes is not ‘moving.’ It has been hijacked, kidnapped and legally severed from its moorings in Lower Merion, where it was nurtured for generations. First, there was its founder, Albert Barnes, whose will was cavalierly violated. Then, there was Violetta Di Mazza, the woman who picked up the artistic torch when he died. And then, there were the generations of students who loved the Barnes Foundation as if those paintings were blood and breath and being, not just oil on canvas.
This ‘move’ to Philadelphia is an obscenity. Who cares that hordes of city-dwellers with their sticky-fingered, texting children will be streaming through the halls of that million-dollar architectural tomb as a pit stop on their way to the Duck Boats.