I had earlier written about my visit to the Barnes Foundation in Merion, PA, and about the music video that resulted. Well, the move of the Barnes from Merion to Philadelphia has been accomplished and the usual critical infrastructure has dutifully provided their predicable and specious arguments to justify this travesty. Do all these critics read and copy from each other, or have they all been given the same talking points by the very political and corporate powers that engineered the move? For those of you who may wish to be art critics someday, pay attention. This is what a critical review consists of: It could have been terrible, but—Wow!—it really turned out to be wonderful! Paul Goldberger (Vanity Fair) writes: “It… could have been stifling… But that is not what Philadelphia has gotten.” Ada Louise Huxtable (Wall Street Journal) writes: “The ‘new’ Barnes that contains the ‘old’ Barnes shouldn’t work, but it does.” Roberta Smith (NY TImes) writes: “Others, myself included… felt that faithfully reproducing the old Barnes in the new space… was a terrible idea… And yet the new Barnes proves all of us wrong.” Peter Schjendahl (The New Yorker) writes: “I couldn’t imagine that the integrity of the collection—effectively a site-specific, installational work of art, avant la lettre—would survive. But it does, magnificently.”
In reaction to this woeful display of critical subservience, I have created a parody of Paul Goldberger’s blog post (it appeared in Vanity Fair earlier this month): only the names and places have been changed (along with some necessary textual revisions to keep the story self-consistent). And of course the images were “photoshopped” just a bit. You can find my parody here.