Why Everyone Should Care about the DIA

The Rivera Court, Detroit Institute of Arts

The remaining posts in my three-part series on the sculpture of Richard Artshwager are still forthcoming, but I wanted to take the opportunity to do a quick post about something a bit broader than my usual discussions of sculptural things, about an issue that everyone and anyone even mildly interested in art should care about: the move by Kevyn Orr, the appointed emergency city manager of Detroit, to hire Christie’s auction house to appraise the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts in advance of a possible sale to help offset the massive municipal debt that led to the city recently declaring bankruptcy. Actually, let me revise that statement, the controversy brewing around the possible liquidation of DIA’s collection is an issue that reaches far beyond bleeding heart arts supporters or so called liberal-elites. The implications of such a move speak to much more than just local politics or the politics of publicly-funded arts institutions. Selling the DIA’s collections, which will probably be valued in the billions, would only be a quick fix to a complex problem, and the result would be a greater, irreversible impoverishment of the city of the Detroit. Continue reading “Why Everyone Should Care about the DIA”