Barnes’s arrangements are as eye-opening, intoxicating and, at times, maddening as ever, maybe more so. They mix major and minor in relentlessly symmetrical patchworks that argue at once for the idea of artistic genius and the pervasiveness of talent. Nearly every room is an exhibition unto itself — a kind of art wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities — where you can spend hours parsing the echoes and divergences among the works in terms of color, composition, theme, surface and light.
I can’t wait to see the new Barnes. 181 Renoir, 69 Cézanne, and tons more. The article suggests that the audio guides aren’t worth it; instead, immersion in the symphony of colors and shapes is suggested. I disagree wholly… Barnes was an academic and his arrangements were done for reasons that, if known, would add even greater texture to the museum experience. And as for the question of whether the exhibits should “move” (author’s verbiage), I say go for it… just so long as any modifications are done in the inquiring spirit of Barnes himself.
If you were to leave a unique and singular museum behind in any field, how would you choose its focus, what would you fill it with, and most importantly, how would you arrange the whole thing? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @davisshaver.