I've lived in the Philly area my entire life & followed the Barnes Foundation saga from the very beginning until its tawdry denouement and I don't understand some of the bizarre postings above.
No doubt the filmmakers had an agenda, which was that the Barnes should stay in Merion but the power brokers in Harrisburg and Philly colluded to drive it into the ground to force the move to the BF Parkway, which was entirely at odds with Dr. Barnes Last Will & Testament.
This was pretty convincingly driven home by the movie.
The collection isn't invitation only, you simply request a timed ticket on their website and you're in. The entrance fee is a reasonable $15 and the museum housing the collection is truly world class, on par with the Villa Borghese in Rome or the Frick in Manhatten, only better. It is truly one of a kind, one of the treasures of the art world.
It's true that the Barnes was mismanaged by Richard Glanton, the President of the Trustees, during the 1990's. His lawsuit against the Merion Neighbors Association was as disastrous as it was idiotic. But that was no excuse to move the whole operation to the Parkway. It seems it would have been quite easy to raise the money to keep it at Merion.
Who cares if the number of eyeballs weren't maximized? It was never intended to be run that way. And after Episcopal Academy moved away from it's previous City Line Ave location, an entrance from Route 1 (City Line Ave) could have easily been paved (Episcocal even offered to donate the land to make it happen, a fact oddly not mentioned in the film). This would have entirely eliminated the neighbors complaints. However, those talks went nowhere (did the power brokers intervene to squash that also?) Saint Joseph's University ended up buying the entire Episcopel property. I have no doubt SJU would have been more than willing to work something out with a treasure like the Barnes. Having a world renowned art institution as a neighbor would be woth that much, at least.
The question arises, "what would Barnes think of the move?". He despised the stuffy, Republican WASPs that ran Philadelphia and who looked down their noses at the upstart Barnes and his post impressionist art. He left control in his will to the downtrodden African Americans who ran Lincoln University, as a way to "stick it" to the powers that be. But now that those outsiders are actually the insiders, and helped engineer the move to the Parkway, would Barnes object? Who really knows.
In any event, I thought the documentary was great & recommend it highly.
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