Detroit is in massive debt and the city is considering covering its debts with the multibillion-dollar collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). Emergency manager Kevyn Orr is eyeing the institution as a potential answer to its $15 billion dollar debt problem, possibly considering its art as city assets. What a shame.
However, the DIA won't take this sitting down. The institute hired a bankruptcy lawyer Richard Levin of Cravath, Swaine & Moore for counselling. Levin happens to be one of the nation’s best bankruptcy attorneys and was apart of the General Motors bankruptcy case.
Alfred A. Taubman, a DIA patron said, “it would be a crime” to sell any of the DIA’s collection to satisfy city creditors." He continued, “I’m sure Mr. Orr, once he thinks about it, will certainly not choose that as one of the assets. It’s not just an asset of Detroit. It’s an asset of the country.”
The act of liquidating DIA art to compensate for city debt would be a horrendously controversial and confusing process. Never before has such an act been done on a large-scale like it would should the city go ahead with the measure. The DIA differs from other major civic museums in the way that the city has ownership of the structure and collection while day-to-day management is maintained by a nonprofit institution.