City Bankruptcy Sparks More Attention on Detroit Institute's Art

  • July 22, 2013 18:56

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Detroit Industry, north wall, Diego Rivera, 1932-33, fresco.
Detroit Institute of Arts

The city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, throwing the spotlight once again on the valuable art collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

With Detroit straddled with an estimated $19 billion debt, the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, has looked into an appraisal of the DIA's renowned collection of 60,000 objects with the possibility that some works will be sold to pay down city debt.

The museum-world has been in an uproar over the possibility.

Michigan Atty. Gen. Bill Schuette declared in June that the DIA's art can not be sold as it is in the public trust. Also in June, Michigan state Senate passed a bill that would stop any sale of art unless the items were transferred to a comparable institution, but the state's House of Representatives has yet to pass the bill.

DIA has issued a statement:

"Like so many with deep roots in this city, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is disappointed that the Emergency Manager determined it was necessary to file for bankruptcy. As a municipal bankruptcy of this size is unprecedented, the DIA will continue to carefully monitor the situation, fully confident that the emergency manager, the governor and the courts will act in the best interest of the City, the public and the museum. We remain committed to our position that the Detroit Institute of Arts and the City of Detroit hold the DIA’s collection in trust for the public and we stand by our charge to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of all Michigan residents."


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