The Barnes Foundation has joined a growing list of museums and other institutions that are designating their public domain images as Open Access. As always, this applies only to artworks not still protected by copyright, so most 20th-century artists (most notably Matisse, in the case of the Barnes) are excluded. But images of works by many earlier artists (such as Renoir and Cézanne) in the Barnes’ collection are now free for unrestricted use.
There have been some noteworthy stories in the museum world recently:
- There are new threats to sell off pieces of the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts to help bail out the city financially. The museum — widely acknowledged as one of the finest in the United States — has faced similar challenges during past economic downturns.
- The proposal for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden — the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of modern and contemporary art on the National Mall in Washington — to add an inflatable “bubble” by Diller Scofidio + Renfro to its design has apparently stalled, leading the museum’s director to resign.
- It looks like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) may be backing off from its initial plan to tear down the former home of the American Folk Art Museum. The building, designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien (who were also responsible for the new Barnes Foundation building in Philadelphia), sits immediately adjacent to MoMA on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. Although praised by architectural critics since its opening in 2001, the museum building proved to be a difficult space for exhibiting art, prompting the American Folk Art Museum to sell it to MoMA and relocate a few years ago.
This weekend the Barnes Foundation reopened in its new building on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The collection has been closed for nearly a year in order to move to Center City from its longtime home in suburban Merion, Pennsylvania (I posted a story on its closure last summer here).
Controversy is no stranger to the Barnes, never more so than in the years leading up to this relocation. Court battles continue over whether the move was even legal. For its part, the new museum building tries to recreate the experience of visiting the collection in its old home, although not everyone has been impressed with the result.
The Barnes Foundation will be open for 56 consecutive hours during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. For more information on this and other events surrounding the opening, click here.
The Barnes Foundation just closed its longtime suburban Philadelphia home in preparation for its upcoming move to a new building in Center City. The New York Times pays tribute to the original Merion museum in a fun interactive feature that lets you take a virtual tour of several of its rooms.
You can read a related article about the Barnes Foundation here.