Wayne State University

Art Prof. Abt comments on the monetary value of the DIA's collection...

The Detroit News

"DIA frets its art may be at risk"

by Laura Berman

As Detroit city officials try to stave off state intervention, whether by consent decree, emergency manager or even municipal bankruptcy, the city's dire financial situation raises once taboo speculation: Is the city's timeless art collection immune from the city's urgent need for cash? With a collective value beyond $1billion, the DIA has several works that might command $10 million to $100 million or more. "Alfred Taubman and Richard Manoogian would put their feet down," says Jeffrey Abt, a Wayne State University art professor and museum historian, referring to two of the museum's major donors. Still, he observes: "The city of Detroit could, theoretically, decide they want to sell off collections to balance the budget." Abt, author of "A Museum on the Verge," a socio-economic history of the DIA, says most of the nation's great museums are private nonprofits, not city-owned museums.

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