If you want to completely hate every angle of the art world do like I did and watch the documentaries “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “The Art of the Steal” back to back. But, then after watching it, don’t be like me and wait 7 years before you go and visit the Barnes.
So the short story is that there was once this guy named Albert Barnes who got rich and amassed one of the world’s greatest private art collections. But he was new money and the Philadelphia art crowd relegated him to the little kids table. So for paybacks this Barnes guy left his collection to a small historically black college outside of the city and wrote into his will that his collection could never be moved or sold.
He basically wrote into his will that everything he knew the established art world would want to do, was not allowed.
So of course once he died the art world, and the city of Philadelphia, broke every one of those rules.
So now, as is so often the case with wonderful, beautiful, and historic things that are worth money, we, the general public, can enjoy and consume said beauty, but not without some bit of moral compromising.
Having broken my seven year hunger strike, I advocate for this compromise.
Van Gogh, Modigliani, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Seurat, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and then more Van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne, Monet. so much. Just. So. Much.
Taking pictures inside is absolutely not allowed. I learned that they do in fact enforce that rule. Had they not enforced that rule I would be treating you to what I consider the highlight of the place (the Matisse triptych up in the arches), but the guards gave me my second warning at that point.
So worth it. And besides, I don’t really advocate breaking rules… but they do.