Saturday, September 25, 2004

Barnes mission

Today the tide shifted from the foundations point of view to the traditional Barnes formula. What started out as a rather dull recitation of the trustees side through the use of articles and original letters propertied to support their position. The sand shifted by the afternoon like the storm surge of a hurricane.

Professor Marie C. Malaro, museum expert on accession and deaccession, pulled the rug out from under the trustees argument. With simple words that might have been missed by the casual listener she with great authority proved that the majority of the collection are assets and other than the art restricted by the indenture can be sold, because The Barnes Foundation is a school and not a museum. There is simply no ethical or legal probation on using the assets, art in this case, for the educational mission of the foundation. Because there was no accession there can not be deaccession, which only applies to museums whose mission is to form and hold art in a collection. Her testimony clearly took the foundations side off guard and provoked a somewhat badgering cross examination.

With the cool of a legal expert and the demeanor of a respectful teacher, Ms. Malaro seemed to wait for the importance of her testimony to sink in with the lawyers.

Judge Ott, to his credit, took a very serious posture and facial expression. I almost felt, game over. For the first that I have seen he had no questions at the end of the testimony,

While the petitioners, who had allowed Ms. Malaro to testify because of time constraints, before they had finished presenting all their witnesses, had planed to call an other witness, they all agreed to end on Monday if possible.

Even the lawyer representing the Commonwealth of PA AG seemed to need time to digest the idea that they might be wrong in agreeing with the trustees position.


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