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A Dead Man's Wishes

mmanzone's picture

Having grown up in the area I knew a little about the Barnes Foundation going into this assignment.  I knew, for example, that it was not just paintings but rather paintings and sculptures and furniture and other odds and ends that Dr. Barnes thought to be significant.  It was only after watching The Art of the Steal and reading the articles that I realized that he was also a grumpy and picky old man.  But I feel that if he was alive right now he would be extremely upset.  Upset not only with the move of his foundation but upset with the assignment set before us now.  

We talked about Barnes with sympathy; after his death many of his wishes (including his will) were totally ignored.  We talked about how this was a mean thing to do.  But aren’t we doing the same thing?  Would Barnes want us (Bryn Mawr students) 1) being at his foundation in the first place and 2) spending time with one single piece of art?  His entire dream for the foundation was for it to be a place of learning, not just of art but of the connections in art.  By having us spend more and more time with this particular topic, I feel that we also are the mean bad guys who disregarded a dead man’s wishes for their own benefit.