The last time the Barnes Foundation exhibited contemporary art, the year was 1923, the collection had just opened, and the reviews were disastrous. “The drawings of insane patients are far superior to the alleged works of art I saw at the exhibition,” wrote Dr. William H. Wadsworth of paintings by Matisse and Modigliani. “Legal action should be taken to suppress such works.”
The Barnes’s forthcoming show will feature five wall sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly, to commemorate both its 90th birthday and Kelly’s. While the exhibit is in part a celebration of the Barnes’s new Parkway home, it’s got a trace of old Barnes conservatism about it: Kelly made its centerpiece, “Sculpture for a Large Wall,” in 1957. The 65-foot piece, featuring 104 multicolored aluminum panels, was built for the old Penn Center Transportation Building, where it sat in the lobby for 40 years. Now it’s back on loan, along with four other works from the past three decades. Kelly’s stainless steel sculpture ”The Barnes Totem” is also located by the museum’s reflecting pool.
The show will run from May 4th to September 2nd. [AP]