Thom Collins and the Barnes Foundation: Advancing Education and Appreciation of the Fine Arts

August 1, 2020

Hosted by Robert Rimm

This podcast is brought to you by Better to Speak of It: Fostering Relationships & Results through Creativity, a book of key leadership, management and personal values written in collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson.

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A Philadelphia native, Dr. Albert Barnes was an American chemist, businessman, art collector, writer, and educator. He established the Barnes Foundation in 1922 to, in his words, “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” That mission actively continues to this day, with the Neubauer Family Executive Director and President Thom Collins, also a Philadelphia native. An innovative educator and accomplished art historian, administrator and author, he has more than 20 years of experience at some of America’s top arts institutions, including the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York; the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore; the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati; the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Thom earned his MA in art history from Northwestern University and his BA with honors in art history and the history of religion from Swarthmore College. He serves on the Board of Trustees at Swarthmore College and is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Art Museum Curators, and the College Art Association.

Photo credits: Photo of Neubauer Family Executive Director and President Thom Collins by Michael Perez. Photos © the Barnes Foundation, 2015. 

American artist Bill Viola (b. 1951) is celebrated for his genre-defying, mind-expanding work in new media. He is a visionary artist whose installations feature moving images that invite meditations on birth, death, and spiritual themes as well as the nature of human consciousness.

I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like: The Art of Bill Viola…

…the current special exhibition organized for the Barnes by distinguished guest curator John G. Hanhardt (listen to the podcast below, and his photo opens the slide show) and running from June 30th through September 15th—will bring together a selection of the artist’s major pieces from 1976 to 2009, including smaller screen-based works and the rarely seen large-scale installations He Weeps for You, Pneuma and Ascension.

Image credits for artworks by Bill Viola below: Ablutions, 2005, color video diptych on two flat-panel displays, 7:01 minutes, photo by Kira Perov; Ascension, 2000, video/sound installation, 10 minutes, photo by Kira Perov; Catherine’s Room, 2001, color video polyptych on five LCD flat-panel displays, 18:39 minutes, photo by Kira PerovHe Weeps for You, 1976, video/sound installation, continuously running, photo by Kira Perov; and The Greeting, 1995, video/sound installation, 10:22 minutes, photo by Kira Perov.