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The Barnes Foundation Announces The Barnes Then and Now: Dialogues on Education, Installation, and Social Justice

New book exploring the Barnes Foundation’s evolution in the 100 years since its establishment

Philadelphia, PA, September 5, 2023—The Barnes Foundation announces the publication of The Barnes Then and Now: Dialogues on Education, Installation, and Social Justice, a new collection of essays and contemporary conversations exploring how the Barnes has evolved in the 100 years since its founding, with a special focus on its unconventional art installation and mission rooted in progressive education and social justice.

Published by the Barnes Foundation and distributed by Temple University Press, The Barnes Then and Now is edited by Martha Lucy, deputy director for research, interpretation and education at the Barnes. The 304-page volume details the origins of the institution’s progressive educational program established by founder Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1925, his unconventional arrangement of the collection, and his commitment to social justice.

Organized into three corresponding sections—Education, Installation, and Social Justice—the book features nine scholarly essays articulating Dr. Barnes’s achievements in these areas and situating them in the context of early 20th-century American social history, museum history, and educational theory. Writers for the education section were Alison Boyd (recently appointed director of research and interpretation at the Barnes and former assistant professor of modern and contemporary art history at Utrecht University), William M. Perthes (Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education at the Barnes), and Bertha Adams (former associate archivist at the Barnes). Essays on the installation were contributed by Boyd, Dario Gamboni (emeritus professor of art history at the University of Geneva), and Tatiana Flores (Jefferson Scholars Foundation Edgar F. Shannon Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia) and Rebecca Uchill (director for the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture and professor of the practice at the University of Maryland). Essays on social justice were written by Barbara Anne Beaucar (former Barnes archivist and historian) and Kazuyo Nakamura (professor of education in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hiroshima University).

The book also presents four dialogues between contemporary museum leaders, scholars, and educators that grapple with the Barnes’s role and mission in the present day, discussing how an institution founded 100 years ago, with a famously quirky blueprint, can remain relevant in today’s complex cultural landscape. These conversations include:

  • Education: Rika Burnham, theorist and practitioner of art museum teaching, in conversation with William M. Perthes, moderated by Monique Scott, associate professor of the history of art and director of museum studies at Bryn Mawr College.
  • Installation: Dario Gamboni in conversation with Martha Lucy, moderated by Monique Scott.
  • Social Justice: Jane Golden, executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, in conversation with Valerie Gay, deputy director for audience engagement and chief experience officer at the Barnes; and Brenda A. Allen, president of Lincoln University, in conversation with Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes, both moderated by Roxanne Patel Shepelavy, executive editor and co-executive director of the Philadelphia Citizen.

The Barnes Then and Now is a focused history of our institution. It elaborates our founder’s vision for social progress through art education—a very distinct approach to art education rooted in close looking and critical thinking,” says Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President. “Our hope is that this book will both reveal how we got here and point the way forward in realizing Dr. Barnes’s original mission to use the power of art to ignite human potential.”

“Featuring scholarship based on new archival research about Dr. Barnes’s remarkable achievements, combined with fresh conversations with leaders in the fields of education, art history, and public art, this book aims to situate the origins of the Barnes Foundation within a fuller sociohistorical and museological context,” says Martha Lucy.

The Barnes Then and Now: Dialogues on Education, Installation, and Social Justice is now available for pre-order from the Barnes Shop and Temple University Press.

Title: The Barnes Then and Now: Dialogues on Education, Installation, and Social Justice
Publish Date: September 2023
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The Barnes Foundation
Trim Size: 7 x 10
Pages: 304
US Price: $60
ISBN: 978-1-7361252-1-2

Martha Lucy is deputy director for research, interpretation and education at the Barnes Foundation. A specialist in 19th-century French painting, she oversees the Barnes’s education and academic programs, as well as scholarly research on the art collection and institutional history. She is the author of Renoir in the Barnes Foundation (2012) and numerous essays on topics ranging from evolutionary themes in the work of Odilon Redon to the mirror in impressionist painting. Her curatorial work includes the 2015 exhibition Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things.

The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, medieval, and Native American art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.

The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” A visionary collector and pioneering educator, Dr. Barnes was also a fierce advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, women, and the economically marginalized. Committed to racial equality and social justice, he established a scholarship program to support young Black artists, writers, and musicians to further their education. Dr. Barnes became actively involved in the Harlem Renaissance, during which he collaborated with philosopher Alain Locke and Charles S. Johnson, the scholar and activist, to promote awareness of the artistic value of African art.

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes Foundation has expanded its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways; investing in original scholarship relating to its collection; and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its programs.

The Barnes Foundation is situated in Lenapehoking, the ancestral homeland of the Lenape people. Read our Land Acknowledgment.

Hours and ticket prices are listed on our website.


Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
The Barnes Foundation

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Gary Kramer, Publicity Manager
Temple University Press