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The Unnecessary Orphan and the Canadians!

One of the most important openings happened this past week in Philadelphia, the reinvention of the Barnes Foundation. I was unable to attend the press preview so I can't provide an opinion. Of the reviews I have read so far many find the building impressive and full of light, even going so far as to claim the art is now free! I will get there at some point and will then share my own take.

As you may know I have not been supportive of the move of Dr. Barnes's collection. With all its issues the move was a drastic over-reaction and frankly morally and legally questionable. The collection is now branded and the gift shop is open - see for yourselves.

Opening this week at Mass MoCA is Oh, Canada. The exhibit is billed as the first comprehensive survey of contemporary Canadian art in decades, a major undertaking for curator Denise Markonish. She scoured nearly every province and made over 400 studio visits to organize this exhibit. I was there this past Thursday, and a lot of work still needed to be installed or completed to pull it off by Saturday. Some very interesting work from a distance. I wish them luck with the install and look forward to returning.

I did get to see Michael Oatman's all utopias fell, which is not open during the winter months. Oatman has perched an old airstream trailer high above the old boiler room building, surrounded by spent and tattered parachutes -- re-entry from another time and place. A Lost in Space remake, Buck Rogers, or Gilligan's Island -- unfortunately, no one is home but all the gadgets are buzzing and the music is on. Maybe they'll be there when I return for the Oh, Canada exhibit.

To get to all utopias fell visitors must make their way through the old boiler room building, and it's one of the most stunningly beautiful spots at the museum. This hulking rusted corpse, once the life blood of the former factory, has the feel of an ancient organ that comes to life when the wind blows through the open walls.

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