Detroit Rock-Bottom City (Apethetic Destruction)

by Michael Zabel

Main Hall of the Detroit Institute of Arts

Main Hall of the Detroit Institute of Arts

Well I’m sorry to report that the apathy of Detroit city, in particular the Metro-Detroit area, has finally hit rock bottom.  On the forefront of many credible news sources this morning came a gut-punch to your humble narrator; numerous reports on how the Detroit Institute of Arts has been mandated by the newly appointed emergency manager to appraise artwork that might further be sold to relieve some of Detroit’s $15 billion debt.  Naturally, art museums will sell and acquire artwork quite regularly in their lifespan, however, the big difference in this instance is obviously the desperate fire-sale in which no new art will be coming to the DIA.  Not to mention, the artwork that will be potentially sold off are the gems of the collection; the paintings that draw in the everyday (well…apparently not everyday) suburban visitor.  As a “displaced Detroiter” myself I am truly saddened by the news of such a large piece of my heritage and culture valued monetarily with complete disregard to its absolute value to the community.  When I was in college, I literally had this museum in my backyard and I went there at least four days a week, sometimes multiple times in one day to study and learn from the masters, develop my own voice and find my bearings in the art world.  Melodramatics aside, a feeling of uncontrollable helplessness has befallen me today.  A feeling spawning from the years that I’ve spent telling everybody I knew of the beauty of this museum and doing everything short of physically dragging them to the city to show them the magnificence and grandeur of which I spoke of.  I only wish there was more that I could do but alas, I am seemingly but one in a small minority that really can appreciate the far too often overlooked treasure that is the Detroit Institute of Art.

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