Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things
The Order of Things presents three large-scale installations by internationally renowned artists Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, and Fred Wilson. Each of these works, commissioned for the show, is a response to the unconventional way that Albert C. Barnes chose to display his collection. The exhibition also features an installation designed by Barnes—a small room in the Merion gallery building that was replaced by an elevator shaft in the 1990s.
In designing his “ensembles” nearly a century ago, Barnes ignored the traditional rules of museum display, mixing modern paintings and old masters, furniture, metalwork, and household items. Formal concerns, rather than history or chronology, guided the organization of his collection. In overturning traditional categories of display, Barnes invented his own system for ordering the world. Much like an installation artist, he invited a different view of objects by shifting their context.
The Order of Things explains the philosophy behind the ensembles and their importance in the history of museum practice. At the same time—and in keeping with Dr. Barnes’s commitment to the development of critical thinking skills—the show invites thought about display in general. How are other museums organized? What meanings do their displays create? Are value systems and hierarchies implied in any presentation?
Curated by Martha Lucy, Assistant Professor, Drexel University; and Consulting Curator, Barnes Foundation.
Hear directly from the artists about the exhibition:
Young Professionals Night: The Summer Palette
June 12, 7–10 pm
Famously Unorthodox: Barnes’s Wall Ensembles
Thursdays in April, May and June, 2–3 pm
Barnes as Installation Artist (members only)
April 18, 11 am–noon
The Order of Things – Installation Process (members only)
April 28, 6–8 pm
The Order of Things Opening Party
May 15, 6–9 pm
The Order of Things is sponsored by
Contributing sponsor for the exhibition is
With generous funding from the William Penn Foundation.
Leadership gifts in support of the exhibition have been given by
the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund and Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz,
Agnes Gund, Jane and Leonard Korman, Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman,
and Katherine and Keith L. Sachs.
Image: Mark Dion, Sketch for The Incomplete Naturalist - The Barnes Foundation, 2014, colored pencil on paper, 6 x 8 inches; 15.2 x 20.3 cm (unframed). Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York