In 1922 in Merion, Pennsylvania, a suburb just five miles outside of Philadelphia, Dr. Albert Barnes formed an educational foundation to house his collection of art, now valued at more than $25 billion. Fifty years after his death, in the late 2000s, a long and dramatic struggle ensued for control of the Barnes Foundation. On one side, those who wished to move the collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it ultimately now resides. On the other, a group of
Dr. Barnes’ former students and his will, which included instructions stating the foundation should always be an educational institution and that the paintings may never be removed. In 2009, director Don Argott’s documentary The Art of the Steal controversially chronicled the battle over the foundation, winning over film festival viewers and polarizing the art world. The Barnes Collection, airing as part of PBS Arts Summer Festival on Sunday, August 5, at 10:30 p.m., steers clear of the controversy but focuses instead on Dr. Barnes’ remarkable rise from Philadelphia’s working-class neighborhood to the top of the modern art world. This unique tale bounces back and forth through time as Dr. Barnes travels the world to collect works of art by some of history’s most famous artists—Picasso, Cezanne, Matisse, Renoir, and many others. The film digs deep into the intricacies of each painting, offering a rare look at the priceless collection and the new museum that now houses it.
Organized by Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, the Bridge School Benefit Concert is an annual, all-acoustic concert held every October at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. The nonprofit event helps raise funds for the Bridge School’s programs for the communicative and educational development of children with severe speech and physical impairments. Some of the biggest names in music participate. Pegi and Neil Young’s Concert for the Bridge School special, airing on NPT on Tuesday, August 14, at 9 p.m., gathers some of the biggest names and performances from the past twenty-five years of the benefit show, including Young, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, and others.
Blues and roots artist Keb’ Mo’ is a Nashvillian these days, and NPT welcomes him to town with a special primetime broadcast of his appearance on the new music performance series Infinity Hall Live. Airing on Wednesday, August 15, at 8:30 p.m., Infinity Hall Live: Keb’ Mo’ includes the artist and his band performing new tracks from his most recent album, The Reflection, as well as several other fan favorites from his award-winning catalog, including “The Whole Enchilada,” which he describes as a song that “reminds us men that when you are out there courting and falling in love that there’s just a few things to keep in mind,” and “I See Love,” the theme song from the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly.
In honor of what would have been Johnny Cash’s 80th birthday year, Celebrating the Music of Johnny Cash: We Walk the Line!, airing on Sunday, August 19, at 7 p.m., features some of the biggest artists in the music industry honoring Cash’s legacy with performances of songs such as “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Long Black Veil” and “Ring of Fire.” Taped on April 20, 2012, before a sold-out crowd at the Moody Theatre/ACL Live in Austin, Texas, artists include Nashvillians Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Pat Monahan of Train, Ronnie Dunn, Lucinda Williams, Jamey Johnson, Shooter Jennings, Shelby Lynne, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and more.