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United Nations of Barnes


(Ed. note–In this post, artblog reader Charles Hankin is referring to the Philadelphia Inquirer story mentioned in Roberta’s post of April 19. For other recent commentary on the issue, see Libby’s post of April 20 and Tyler Green’s posts like this one and this one at Modern Art Notes.)

Post by Charles Hankin

pippingivingthanks I am in wonder at the concept of opening up the Barnes back door.

The divide between the city of Philadelphia and the Main Line has been clear for generations. Barnes, the humanist, seems to have wanted to break down that barrier. He was after all a risk taker, collecting art by the cutting edge, or as Robert Hughes coined, the Art of the New. What would fit in with the new plan would be a gallery that would take risks.

A partnership with St. Joe’s [University] could work toward this, along with a partnership with Lincoln University. Why not have a world art center which could include African and other cultures? It could be marketed as the United Nations of Art. (image is Horace Pippin’s “Giving Thanks” from the Barnes Collection)

This would join the cultural divide that is City Line Ave.

The Philadelphia community is much larger than three stuffy foundations.

The Barnes is not the answer for the Parkway, which could benefit from street life like street vendors and performers or even a carnival. Now it is just a street for rowers to get to Center City or commuters to get to Chestnut Hill without going through North Philadelphia.

— Charles Hankin is a regular artblog reader from Philadelphia