Photograph © 2012 The Barnes Foundation
Knight Foundation supported the building of a new Philadelphia facility to house the Barnes Foundation collection, and a mobile app to provide more access to the world-renowned works. Knight's Vice President/Arts Dennis Scholl writes about the opening.
It was a star-studded night as the Barnes Foundation opened the doors to it new 93,000-square-foot facility on museum mile in Philadelphia. The building, designed by Tod Williams and Billy Tsien, glowed in the setting sun as 875 patrons descended. Luminaries included Ellsworth Kelly, caught posing in front of his 40-foot-tall sculpture in the garden entryway. I also saw most of the Sotheby’s contemporary art contingent, including North and South American chair Lisa Dennison and executive vice president Anthony Grant.
Master of ceremonies Brian Williams of NBC News kept the evening moving, even when technical issues got in the way. The crowd was also entertained by a short five-song set from Norah Jones and a rousing gospel moment by a local choir. But it was more of a see-and-be-seen crowd, as all of Philadelphia and beyond showed up to celebrate the Barnes’ new home. And what a home it is.
I had the good fortune of visiting the Barnes in Merion before it closed and when I entered the identically replicated rooms in the new space, it was an odd feeling of deja vu. The main difference is the new space’s exquisite lighting, designed by Paul Marantz. The use of diffused light bouncing off of silver leaf ceilings gives the work a luminous feel. For the first time, you can see the postimpressionist works in all their glory.