Detroit Free Press

Sale of Detroit Institute art debated in light of city's bankruptcy

The Detroit Institute of Arts is back in the national spotlight after city leaders said Thursday that the city had filed for bankruptcy. At the heart of the museum-world debate is whether the city should sell valuable works of art in the DIA's collection to pay off some of the city's debt.

Selling items from a public museum is frowned upon by the art world. In June, Michigan Atty. Gen. Bill Schuette stated that the art in the DIA is held in the public trust and therefore cannot be sold. 

The Michigan state Senate passed a bill in June that would stop any sale of art unless the items were transferred to a comparable institution. But the bill hasn't been approved by...