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One Last Look At Barnes’ Merion Galleries Before Move To Parkway

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Barnes Foundation will close its Merion galleries July 3rd in anticipation of moving the collection to the Parkway next spring.  KYW Newsradio‘s community affairs reporter Karin Phillips took one of the last tours through the Merion galleries.

After just a few minutes in the main gallery of the Barnes Foundation, I felt art drunk.  Dozens of priceless paintings cover the walls from floor to ceiling, some just inches from my nose.  And, Andrew Stewart, director of marketing and public relations for the Barnes, says that my experience could be repeated on the Parkway.

Listen to Andrew Stewart lead Karin Phillips on a tour of the Barnes Foundation…

barnesaerialrendering One Last Look At Barnes’ Merion Galleries Before Move To Parkway

An artist's rendering on the new Barnes Foundation building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. (Photo provided by the Barnes Foundation)

“They will be this shape and the paintings will be hung this way and the metalwork will be within — I don’t know what the tolerances are, but it’s like a millimeter or something like that — so within that same tolerance you will have the same experience,” Stewart says.

There will be some change, though. At Merion, the blinds are drawn to prevent sun damage.  Derek Gillman, executive director and president of the Barnes, says a new state of the art lighting and window glazing system will present the collection in natural light.

Listen to Karin Phillips’ interview with Derek Gillman…

“Except on very sunny days, we should be able to look out of the windows without the blinds down and so the pictures will sort of read in the sort of light in which they were painted and in which they should be seen,” Gillman says.

The Barnes gallery lighting system for the Parkway includes a huge white canopy on the top of the building, which will glow after dark.

Bill McDowell, project executive, says the architects looked at Merion as a gallery inside a garden.  Now on the parkway, a three story garden will be inserted into the new gallery space.

Listen to Karin Phillips’ interview with Bill McDowell…

“They had an idea that actually the garden could literally be inserted into the building so that it could become part of the experience and it retains the connection to the arboretum and really reinforces the importance of horticulture,” McDowell says.

It’s hoped the Barnes collection will be in its new 100-thousand square foot state of the art building on the Parkway by early next summer.

Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Clare Peterson

    I’m 57 years old, born here, lived here for all but five years of my life, an art lover, but ‘ve never been to the Barnes. Why not? Because I didn’t feel like abasing myself by kowtowing to all their rules. It seemed that the people running the place couldn’t make up their minds–did they want visitors to view the art, or not? They tried to split the difference by making up all kinds of strict rules about reservations and such. I don’t need to jump through flaming hoops to look at fine art.
    I hope the new site on the Parkway will extend more of a welcome to visitors.

  • Peter

    Wow. This sounds like the reporter has never been to the Barnes. How could somebody live and work here and not go to the Barnes?

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