Skip to comments.Detroit Should Sell Some Paintings
Posted on 05/02/2014 11:53:13 AM PDT by MichCapCon
As the prospect draws closer of a state bailout of Detroit at the expense of other critical needs, voters might want to examine more closely politicians skittishness toward selling off city assets. In particular, artwork owned by the citys museum, an institution sustained by tax dollars (including a regional property tax favored by many of those same politicians in 2010).
Lawmakers should reject a bailout and instead insist that Detroit whose problems are the product of its own fiscal malpractice take responsibility for cleaning itself up. It is fundamentally unfair to make other Michigan residents pay for such infamous mismanagement. If avoiding this inequity requires the city to sell some assets, including paintings from the museum, so be it.
In fact, government support for the arts is itself another form of inequity: Tax dollars taken from the many subsidize the highbrow recreation of a relative few. Now Lansing politicians want Michigan taxpayers to give up another $350 million for a bailout that proponents admit is largely about preserving an amenity for the elite.
Selling off some art could go further to reducing bankruptcy pain than bailout advocates admit. They downplay this potential by pointing to a low-ball value estimate of $867 million for the art, but one bond insurer has solicited bids that could generate $2 billion. Putting a ring-fence around this asset leaves money on the table that could reduce the hit to the citys pensioners and others.
Among those others are people and institutions who have lent money to the city and for whom there has been little sympathy. In some cases that may be understandable, but stinging creditors could increase future borrowing costs for all Michigan communities, making needed infrastructure improvements that much harder, plus adding another obstacle to Detroits own long-awaited Renaissance.
The first priority of legislators should be to protect their constituents from a misguided bailout of Detroit. Sell some art and other assets, contract out many services and end unnecessary ones. Any other solution would be fundamentally unfair and would encourage more bad behavior in Detroit and other poorly managed cities.
Government has zero business buying “art.” That’s not government.
Most of the art was donated.
“Most of the art was donated.”
The way donations typically work I donate my 83 Escort with 300k miles on it. I declare its value as $20,000 and you agree to that value. I get to take it off my taxes. Now, as far as cars go, that wouldn’t fly. But suppose it’s something with a less well known value, say a genuine Wilbur Fludbrush painting of the Campbell’s soup can. The IRS or local taxing authority isn’t likely to have a clue on that one. Governments should not be involved in anything beyond governance. That’s the problem, there is nothing that government is NOT involved in.
Well, they could canvas the market to brush up on their appraisal skills, and then frame a general price range, to get a clearer picture of an accurate value to hang on the painting.
Or they could simply call up the old art expert, Al Fresco: the problem is being able to get a hold of him when he isn't plastered.
It’s the way all of the tax-exempt foundations work since the government tried to punish the “robber barons” with taxation. If someone’s estate was bequeathed to the city to city to enhance the culture, I’d rather the city acquired it that way rather than outright purchasing it.
“Or they could simply call up the old art expert, Al Fresco: the problem is being able to get a hold of him when he isn’t plastered. “
Don’t care who y’are that thar’s funny.
Thank you. I used to make dry jokes like that in my humanities classes back in the day, and the students would never react. Now I put them in my online humanities classes, and the students still never react. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. “
The more diapers (are?) changed the more they (need?) changing?
Most people have zero sense of humor. Two Jews walk into a bar, one of them says, “What is this? A joke?”
Paid in full for my previous message :-)
Armand Hammer, a principal benefactor to Al Gore Sr. bought many Czarist treasures from the Bolsheviks at fire sale prices because the needed hard currency.
I C whut U did there. LOL.
CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcorping Castration) had a LOOOONG discussion about this, and concluded (naturally) that a sale of Detroit’s art would be a bad idea, since the public *MIGHT* not be able to observe and enjoy the works.
There was also discussion about how some of the donated works would end up in private collections, but no mention of how these same works originally CAME FROM private collections.
Can you say “cognitive dissonance?” Sure you can...
Really not, it's on public display - many museums may even include 'free' days. but the tax dollars taken is a stickler A better example would proly be D Lions stadium or Tiger field subsidies.
Would be interesting to see $$ generated (or lack of) from an auction of "Modern Art" holdings ...
The art is not what costs the money — the staff is.
The museum’s collection should *rented* to other museums, with a small core of “adopt-an-exhibit” finalists (in other words, everything normally on display would be available to be bid on, but with a minimum figure) remaining in an appropriate amount of space — probably elsewhere.
I like the building, and the area had been spruced up between the first time I remember visiting (in my teens) and the most recent times (about 15 years ago), perhaps the structure could be repurposed, iow, sold to a developer.
Good idea Civ...
Thanks, I hope they figure this out; #1, I don’t think anyone in Detroit would even miss the museum if it closed (which is too bad), #2, I wouldn’t mind seeing parts of the collection over here for a while, and there’s money here to pay for the rental, and #3, $350 million to operate something that no one goes to in Detroit is both a waste of money and stupid. Also, #4, and this is a biggie, I very much doubt $350 million is even needed, it sounds like it’s going into some undeserving pockets.
from the DIA website, staff picks:
the DIA Flickr page:
the DIA YouTube page:
The European art page has a bunch of subcategories, just a bunch of dead white European males, so who cares? And just how is it that this museum got into such deep crap?
They have exactly two links for ancient art, and I’ve seen the ancient art collection, not huge, but creditable:
Ah, 67 results for Graeco-Roman art:
Whoa, some good stuff there. Twenny bucks for the Rembrandt. BTT
some ancient art:
and this is amazing:
this is modern, representational art, that isn’t leftist:
The horrible 'art' that exists in this country is here because our liberal elites government boys buy and 'grant' each other with our tax money...
One more liberal elite scam...
The question here isn't should Detroit 'buy' art, but should they sell it. Knowing the corruption and stupidity of the city I suspect if Detroit 'sold' the art that a majority of the profit would go to friends and cronies ... at rock bottom prices (with kickbacks). And what little proceeds were left, would be wasted.
Civ has the best idea - rent it out to other museums - places smarter and less corrupt. If Detroit ever makes it back they would still have art for their museum. (don't hold your breath on this one)
I can think of millions of people who would miss the museum, it's one of the top 6 museums in the United States and VERY well attended.
The Detroit Institute of Arts just won a huge millage from the surrounding three counties to raise taxes to support the museum because it's so important, so very important.
The DIA is the first museum in the United States to have a Van Gogh, and now it has several.
It has Bernini’s model for St Peter’s Chair from the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Picasso, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Degas, Singer Sargent, murals by Diego Rivera, a complete colonial home, incredible Egyptian artifacts, medieval, roman.........I could go on.
Needless to say, the DIA is a bright jewel full of treasures, and this is coming from a person who has an apartment across from the Louvre.
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