Detroit considering selling art collection to pay debts

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by ugahairydawgs, May 24, 2013.

  1. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

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    #1

    Read more: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/2...sk-amid-detroits-financial-woes#ixzz2UE4oU9iB

    Pretty extreme, out of the box thinking for how to help solve a problem.
     
  2. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #2
    I wouldn't call it that. Most of that art was probably privately funded by donations of cash or art to the museum, or possibly raised through fundraisers. Art collections aren't the kinds of things that are typically built up largely through public funding. The other concern should be that the sale would not be a zero sum game. I'm not sure whether the museum itself is fiscally solvent through admission costs and private fundraising. If it does not require significant public funding, closing it means a direct and indirect loss of jobs, first those employed by the museum, along with those surrounding businesses who benefit from its foot traffic.

    The other example I'll offer is the case of stadiums. It's typical to see corporate sponsorship in their construction, yet the funding provided is generally earmarked for a specific project and not available to pay down other debts.
     
  3. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #3
    Ironically, one of the casualties of this mode of thinking could be The Thinker.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #4
    Maybe pawning it in might be a better and more convenient idea. Unless they discover the artwork is fake.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #5
    They should just block off parts of the city and convert it to landfills, thats what it looks like anyways anytime I drive/fly through there.
     
  6. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #6
    If the city tries this, I hope the donors sue the **** out of them. These pieces of art were donated for the benefit of the public, not to pay for the debts of the city. This is total ********.

    They should just tax the **** out of the people who can afford to buy 14 billion dollars worth of artwork.
     
  7. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #7
    $14 Billion? And the art will fetch, what, fifty million? And once it is sold, they cannot expect to get it back. Sounds like a losing proposition all the way around.
     
  8. ugahairydawgs thread starter macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

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    #8
    Those folks probably don't live in Detroit.
     
  9. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended

    DUCKofD3ATH

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    #9
    It's just one of about 30 cast sculptures made of The Thinker. The original is in Paris.

    I'm sure they hate to let it go, but face it, "The Thinker" just doesn't seem appropriate in a city where thinking has long since become passé.
     
  10. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #10
    The value would be much higher than 50 million. The last real assessment around 2004 was supposedly in the neighborhood of 1 billion. I'm not sure where they got these updated figures.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20130523/NEWS01/305230154

    Well the museum may have to rely increasingly on private funding. No one has suggested the artwork is worth 14 billion. A 2004 assessment was roughly 1 billion. The other link I posted above suggests it's currently worth more like 2.5 billion. When it comes to a lot of privately donated pieces accumulated over more than a century, it isn't replaceable. They need to at least consider the repercussions and cost of potential litigation from prior donors or citizens rather than just spinning the numbers in the most favorable way possible relative to its debt and what they might take in auction.

    They are going to hinder a lot of local businesses with such a move by the reduction in foot traffic. It's always possible that if they go through with this, they will look for a new home for this collection rather than attempt to auction it off piece by piece. Numbers are often talked up in terms of value anyway where they aren't including the real cost to appraise and sell all of this or any other fiscal negatives.

    Some of the comments suggest that funding for the building itself was derived from tri-county area property taxes, and not solely funded by the city of Detroit. I can't find anything to corroborate it though.
     
  11. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #11
    I'd say the fact that over 50% of the black population in Detroit are not living under democratic rule ("emergency managers") is a bit more extreme.

    That said, selling off the city's culture to pay off debt...this country gets sadder every day.
     
  12. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #12
    Yes, it's a copy, but it's a full-size copy made by Auguste Rodin, who made the original.
     
  13. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #13
    actually there are groups promoting the idea of farming in Detroit.....turn all the abandoned lots into food producing land
     
  14. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #14
    I wonder what is in their collection? I certainly hope they don't sell the entire collection, but if they have any abstract expressionism or pop art, I hope they sell those first. ;)

    ----------

    Yes, there are many copies of the Rodins, and yes, they are all worth saving. I'm just hoping that there is some Kline, Hofmann, De Kooning, Johns, Warhol, or Thiebaud that they can sell off quickly before the bubble bursts.
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    The city manager model is a completely undemocratic tyrannical abuse of government authority. The only reason the right cheers this is because they hate liberal cities (see below). I can assure you that if churches in a conservative town were being sold off by an appointee of a liberal governor, they would suddenly be in principled opposition.

    Link please.
     
  16. ugahairydawgs thread starter macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

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    #16
    Little different scenario there. In your example the churches are private property and the art collection in the article is owned by the museum, which is owned by the city.
     
  17. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended

    DUCKofD3ATH

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    #17
    Link to what? Proof that the good people of Detroit stopped thinking a long time ago?
     
  18. chris200x9 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Is the art Detroit's to sell? While I agree with the previous statements about donors giving it to benefit the public not pay off Detroit's debt I would like to also add that last year a tax was passed that taxes the whole tri-county area to support the DIA (that's why anyone from Macomb Oakland and Wayne county can get in free). So why should I, as a non-Detroiter) be paying to upkeep the DIA when things from it are getting sold off left and right to pay for Detroit?
     
  19. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #19
    Why sell art when they can tax the rich 90%.

    If that doesn't work, raise the corporate tax rate of Detroit's largest employers to 90% too because that will create more jobs.

    As a last step raise the minimum wage to $17 an hour, which I think is a fair living wage the people deserve.

    Detroit would be turned around fast with steps like this.
     
  20. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #20
    There aren't a whole lot of rich people in Detroit proper. Most of the richy-poos live out in the suburbs with everyone else.

    The emergency manager Kevin Orr is a pretty straight shooter, he's keeping a relatively transparent profile while trying to bring the city from the brink of bankruptcy. While "everything" is on the table in regards to eliminating debt I think the DIA is at the bottom of the list. But on the other hand the creditors want to be paid.

    This issue is not liberal/conservative nor is it a new issue. Corruption in Detroit government has been an issue for like 20 years from the do-nothing city council to Monica Conyers and Kwame Kilpatrick. The EM is literally a last resort for a city on the brink.
     
  21. Aspasia macrumors 65816

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    #21
    While I live in Michigan (hundreds of miles north of Detroit, thank goodness), it is my understanding that only if Detroit files for bankruptcy could the DIA assets possibly be sold to pay off creditors. It's been alleged that the DIA could have taken steps to protect the artworks from such a fate, but didn't.

    There is a bill being worked on in the Michigan Legislature to protect the DIA assets. Whether it succeeds remains to be seen.

    Detroit voters have consistently elected and re-elected toxic, incompetent politicians and their chickens are coming home to roost via economics 101.

    Finally, what's with the cracks about wealthy people who have worked hard and earned their wealth? I admire people who have achieved success, rather than belittle them.
     

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