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Please begin with an informative title:

In Michigan, everything is for sale!

Or it might be, if "emergency manager" Kevyn Orr decides to sell of the multi-billion dollar collection of fine art in the city's art museum to pay off its debts.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is considering whether the multibillion-dollar collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts should be considered city assets that potentially could be sold to cover about $15 billion in debt.

How much is the art at the DIA worth? Nobody knows exactly, but several billion dollars might well be a low estimate.

What a sorry state to be in.

Keep in mind that many of these paintings have traveled a long way to get to Detroit from France, Spain and the Netherlands, among other places. Some have had dozens of owners. Others have uncertain and -- likely a few, uncomfortable -- provenance. They weren't created in Detroit by Detroit artists, but for decades, they have been on public display for the appreciation of Michiganders in a place that has unique cultural significance for local residents.

Yes -- it might turn out that Detroit can sell the collection and the paintings will find a new home. They've been sold before. They might be sold again.

But it would be tragic for this struggling city to lose one of its pre-emininent cultural institutions.

Even more tragic for these paintings to disappear from public view into the villa of a Russian oligarch in Cyprus, or the boardroom of an insurance company in Japan, never or rarely to be seen again.

Please read: How Museums Get Rid of Stuff, a new diary that discusses the ethics and processes used by museums to transfer, sell or destroy objects in their collection. It's not as easy -- or shouldn't be -- as simply having a fire sale and inviting the Koch Brothers in to take their pick.
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to bink on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Motor City Kossacks.

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