Detroit is a broken city, buried in debt. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported on a federal ruling holding that the city could formally enter bankruptcy and that city pensions were "not inviolable." Now, the city's creditors and a host of economists, politicians, art world professionals, and lawyers are vying for a say in what happens to DIA's collection. They say the art collection is a city asset and selling it to raise capital to service the debt should be considered. If legally binding pensions are in jeopardy, is there any doubt the art is going to the auction block?
DIA's director, Graham W. J. Beal, thinks not. He stated so in a September 2013 post on DIA's blog, writing that the museum has "...no intention of breaching the most fundamental tenet of the art museum world: that art in the collection can only be sold to acquire more (and better) art." Unfortunately, when it all plays out, the director may be powerless in deciding what happens to the collection he oversees. And what happens in Detroit may have wider ramifications. Other cities across America will no doubt face similar dilemmas in the future. It's not too far a stretch to think that other major public collections around the country could one day end up being sold to pay down city or state debt.
What will happen to "The Wedding Dance" or to the great Diego Rivera murals that adorn the walls of the building itself?
|The Wedding Dance, 1566|