Before I opine, my immediate reaction would be "hell no." The last thing we need in this country is to incentivize irresponsible spending by municipalities all while guaranteeing that although local residents of a bankrupt city may not have streetlights, ambulances, and police cars they'll have pensions and access to Jackson Pollock's drip paintings.
One aspect I have been thinking about regarding Detroit's bankruptcy (regardless of how we spin it, let's call it what it is, it's a bankruptcy), is that it does call for us to reconfigure and redefine our notion of culture and, in relation to it, our definition of "value." What kind of culture do we value in this day and age? Does a contemporary city really need a museum and art collection that pretty much reiterates and replicates what other major museums in the U.S. already do? Does Detroit's mess not call for us to rethink what a city actually needs after the 2008 economic apocalypse? Are there not other forms of culture that a city like Detroit could use and, more importantly, may already have? If so, could these forms of culture not be funded--or partially funded--with a sale of the DIA collection?
Tied to this question is the thought of
More on this as I parcel out my thoughts.
In case you haven't read it yet, here's NY Times journalist Randy Kennedy's thoughts on Detroit.