On August 13, 2013, the Detroit Insti­tute of Arts announced that it is willing to sue in order to avoid any attempt by emer­gency finan­cial man­ager Kevyn Orr to sell off pieces of its col­lec­tion. Everyone knows that decades of finan­cial malef­i­cence, cor­rup­tion, post-​​industrial eco­nomic forces and racial ten­sion have col­luded and forced the city into bank­ruptcy. Everyone also knows that the DIA col­lec­tion is an impor­tant and valu­able ele­ment of Detroit’s remaining cul­tural capital.

Art critics, museum direc­tors and the art blo­gos­phere have quickly and dra­mat­i­cally ele­vated the col­lec­tion in public dis­course. The inten­sity and mag­ni­tude of this priv­i­leged space in the public con­science is rare for an art insti­tu­tion, even for the ven­er­able titans in Los Angeles and New York — as well as for their coun­ter­parts in Europe.

The DIA and Detroi­ters should resist the col­lec­tion sale. And the art world, espe­cially the smaller, community-​​based arts insti­tu­tions, needs to vig­or­ously engage in the debate about Detroit’s art, and draw lessons from that dis­cus­sion that are applic­able to local art scenes. These two posi­tions grow from a common basis, namely, the expo­nen­tial growth in media cov­erage of the DIA col­lec­tion in the last year. Both domestic and inter­na­tional news sources are pub­lishing pieces on Detroit’s art.

Read the article at Huffington Post →