Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vandalizing the Barnes Foundation.

Anyone who appreciates Art, and lives in the Philadelphia area, surely has heard of the fabled Barnes
Foundation, and its' massive treasure-trove of  Impressionist and Post Impressionist Art.
For the past two years or so, I have been contributing "Cartoons of Protest" to the Friends of the Barnes, the group of concerned citizens attempting to keep the collection from moving to Philadelphia. Here is one of my
initial cartoons, showing the "Money Hole" the planned move has become. Money that could have been used to preserve the Foundation at its' beautiful original site, in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania.

Here is a daily view I've had of the Barnes Foundation for the past forty years or more. A few weeks ago my
morning jog was interrupted when I saw the sign protesting the move, across the street from the Barnes, had
been sprayed with bright red paint!

My first reaction was to laugh, as I looked at my huge cartoon depicting a concerned Dr. Barnes, and various
artists whose paintings are in the collection, each peeking through the drips of paint.

Here is the original cartoon, before the spray-painting. When I eventually found out the Barnes had had their Annual Holiday Party for donors the day before, the artist in me knew there was another cartoon that had to be done. 

And here is my response to the act of vandalism to our sign, and my cartoon. Events depicted here are, of
course, purely a "pigment" of my imagination.

Ironically, the zealot who felt threatened by our message, and emboldened by darkness, has created a visual metaphor for the even greater act of vandalism that is being perpetrated on the legacy of  Dr. Barnes, and one of the world's most important collections of Art.

In its' present state of colorful vandalism, the sign now sends a much more powerful message than any cartoon I could have come up with.
But I'll keep trying!


  1. I saw The Art of the Steal on Netflix streaming!!
    Excellent and too, too bad :(
    I spent many hours inside that collection.
    It will never be the same.

  2. Bill, your responses, both internal and artistic, are a stroke of great sensitivity and far more intelligent than the unthinking vandals who set out to undermine your message. Really, I laughed along with you, both when you told me about it, and now, here, to see it written with your drawings. Gorgeous and clever. I have to go back to the Barnes and Ariel might come with me. Will you, too?

  3. I will go with you, Casey.
    That is, if they let me in...?