Wednesday, December 18, 2013

To sell or not to sell?

Should the Detroit Institute of Art's collection, or at least 5% of it, be sold?

The Journal Times says "yes."

The Daily Caller says "yes," and add Belle Isle to the mix. On why the art should be sold, "Sure, the DIA is a wonderful feature for the midwestern city. But even more charming is a city with streetlights that work, garbage that is collected, and a police force that can keep a city safe."

We will know the value of 5% of the collection tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christie's values Detroit's art collection between $452 and $866 million

Yep. That's million. Guess they don't have any Francis Bacons lying around, just a few masterpieces by Bruegel, van Gogh and Cézanne.

Today, Christie's said it has appraised some of the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection and said the works had a fair market value of $452 million to $866 million. It also suggested five alternatives to selling, which would allow the city to benefit financially while keeping the DIA collection intact.

And what are those five alternatives? Let's just say the first one is, as some say, robbing Peter to pay Paul (is that the quote?). Detroit can use the collection as collateral for loans, and given Detroit's impeccable history in paying off debts this will most likely get the vote for best solution.

File this under "Great solutions in history."

Let them eat art!

Something tells me this is much ado about nothing, but here goes.

Yesterday (it's now officially 12:39am), federal judge Steven J. Rhodes ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible to file for bankruptcy.

What does this mean? Not much, unless you live in Detroit, you care about maintaining a romantic outlook on art, or you're in the business of buying and selling art. In all seriousness, what this means is that theoretically speaking the Detroit Institute of Art's collection could be auctioned off in part or in its entirety to help pay off the city's debts.

Why do I italicize "theoretically"? Because if you actually believe that that fire sale would happen then you are also likely to believe that the state of Texas would allow Jerry Jones to relocate the Dallas Cowboys to the state of Alabama.

This is actually quite sad. That contemporary art has come down not to art making or its content, but rather to the creation of drama by idle individuals about the extremely remote possibility of selling "canonical" works of Western art. Hysteria is more like it.

Here's a very stupid question: why would a city with an exodus of residents and engulfed in poverty, decaying architecture and unpaid bills want to sell off all or any of its city's art collection? I mean, this isn't Venezuela.