May 1, 2006
From a radio address by Albert C. Barnes on the establishment of his foundation.
"Stated in simple language, the fundamental ideas of our educational program are:Is this kind of pragmatic idealism dead in today's world? Haven't thought about it enough to straighten out my thoughts but there it is, some food for thought.
Art is not a phase of life apart from work-a-day world, to which one may turn in moments of leisure or perhaps in the name of so-called 'culture', or in a spirit of worship. In the Foundation's courses art is taken out of its usually detached, esoteric world and is linked up with life itself, because all the qualities which give painting its value are those which are found in various phases of everyday life; and art has value only because it expresses those qualities. In other worlds, 'art is a fragment of life presented to us enriched in feeling by means of the creative spirit of the artist.'
We do not teach students how to paint, for that would be like teaching an injured person how to scream. We teach them how to learn to see; that is to perceive the meanings in events of everyday life, as well as in paintings, sculpture, music, furniture, objects in wrought iron, trees and flowers.
We try to eradicate the almost universal, bad, confusing habit of looking at a painting for what it is not intended to be - information about subject matter, reminiscence, likeness to familiar objects, etc...
We endeavor to create new habits of perception by means of objective observation of the relationship of line, light, color, and space that constitute form. We study the artist's language and how at all periods of time it has been affected by his environment in other words, we study the great traditions."
More about the Barnes foundations in this episode of Weekend Edition aired a few years ago. On an stranger note it is said that Barnes' ghost still wanders the halls of the galleries he built.