Monday, May 27, 2013

Is Dying Detroit Trying to Murder its Museum?

How desperate can a city facing financial armageddon get? What’s the last resort for cities such as Detroit, wounded first by the failing American auto industry and then set bleeding like every other American city after the 2008 financial crash? Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr raised the possibility of selling the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, worth about $15 billion, to help pay off some of the city’s debt. Setting aside the complicated issue of whether a city even has the legal right to sell its museum’s collection like any other movable asset, does a city have the moral right to sell works of art? What would the long-term effect of making such a short-term decision? If dying Detroit murders its museum, will it lose its soul, and the soul of its people? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Is Dying Detroit Trying to Murder its Museum?"

1 comment:

Hels said...

You wrote that The DIA is unusual among major civic museums in that the city retains ownership of the building and collection. Daily operations, including fund-raising, are overseen by a nonprofit institution.

Unusual in the USA but de rigueur almost everywhere else. Only by retaining collections as a public trust can communities ensure honesty and accountability. Private owners can do what they like, regardless of community values.

Detroit would be insane destroying this important community asset.