This is the documentary “The Art of the Steal.” Its about the Barnes Foundation, a private museum and school. Founded in 1922 by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Henri Matisse called it “The only sane place to see art in America.” The Barnes Foundation, which has control of the collection, plans to move from the Philadelphia suburbs to downtown. The Friends of the Barnes is fighting the move, because they believe it goes against not only the spirit of the institution, but Dr. Barnes’ will (Thats up for debate). Its a pretty fascinating story.
This is relevant because it’s a prime example of the changing nature of the modern museum. The changing composition of the board plays a large part in the decision to move. The importance of location (there’s footage of irritated neighbors filming tour buses parked on their street thats pretty entertaining), the changed mission (or the perception of a change?) caused great debate. Ultimately, the documentary is about is the museum valuable to the public best when it stays true to it’s founder’s vision, or does it need to be easily accessible in the tourist district to serve the public best?
The Barnes foundation, which runs the museum, the faq has a pretty detailed synopsis, and there’s more info about the planned move.
the Friends of the Barnes is a group, mentioned in the documentary, of former students, staff, and fans, fighting against the move.