May 18: Barnes’s Raising

The brand-new Barnes Foundation building opens in Philadelphia.


Walking into the galleries of the brand-new Barnes Foundation building in Philadelphia (above, opening May 18), you might experience déjà vu: Every painting and every object will be in exactly the same location as it was in the home that Dr. Albert Barnes constructed for his collection of modern art in Merion, Pennsylvania, in 1922. New York architects Billie Tsien and Tod Williams have encapsulated those spaces, with their quirky combinations of objects, in surroundings that make the art more accessible. Skylights will bathe the Matisses and Renoirs in a luminous glow, and gardens and courtyards will re-create the original Barnes collection’s sylvan setting.“We unquirked the building,” Tsien says, “but not the collection or the way you experience it. That, nobody could or should do.”

Photo: courtesy of The Barnes Foundation