Forcing The Sale Of Detroit’s Multibillion-Dollar Art Collection

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has taken center stage in the wake of the Detroit bankruptcy, which was the largest city bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. As Mark Stryker and Nathan Bomey report for the Detroit Free Press, creditors have asked the court to establish a committee to help evaluate, independently, the worth of the Detroit-owned DIA’s art collection.

Creditors are concerned over a possible “low-ball figure” offered up by city workers. They’d prefer to see the figure the art might fetch on the market. Presumably, creditors will then make an attempt to sell it.

Of course, the DIA opposes any move to sell the art: “We’re opposed to any sale of the collection,” said a DIA executive.

As for the creditors, one of them hoped for a “win-win situation – that ultimately there will be a viable DIA that will survive this process and possibly even thrive.” But the creditor’s representative did go on to say that art is not an essential city service in the context of bankruptcy proceedings.

According to Stryker’s and Bomey’s report, the art collection’s value could reach several billion dollars and “it could go much higher,” depending on how auction-house Christie’s valuation comes out.

Either way, the DIA seems to believe that its very existence is at stake – or that it will be “permanently crippled,” depending on the outcome.

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Forcing The Sale Of Detroit’s Multibillion-Dollar Art Collection