Precious Art Appraised as Detroit Tries to Dig Out of Debt

A couple weeks after a state-appointed emergency manager filed a bankruptcy claim on behalf of Detroit, the world-famous Christie's auction house has been called in to begin appraising some of the Detroit Institute of Arts' permanent collection. But lest you should assume this is the sign of vultures coming in to pick at a decaying carcass. everyone involved in this process promises this is just a formality and no art will be sold.

The Institute of Arts' collection, despite what you might assume about Detroit, is actually quite good thanks to the now broke city's former glory days. Because of this, the emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, says the works must be evaluated as assets in the bankruptcy proceedings. But he adds that it is not his intention to have a fire sale.

"There has never been, nor is there now, any plan to sell art," Orr wrote in a press release, reports the Associated Press. "This valuation, as well as the valuation of other city assets ... is a step the city must take to reach resolutions with its creditors and secure a viable, strong future for Detroit and its residents."

Despite Orr's assurances, DIA employees have been quick to remind everyone that Bill Schuette, the state's attorney general, said in a June opinion that the DIA's art was off limits when it came to debt collection. Schuette wrote that the art is "held by the city of Detroit in charitable trust for the people of Michigan, and no piece in the collection may thus be sold, conveyed, or transferred to satisfy city debts or obligations."

No word yet on whether the city is allowed to sell a giant can of Crisco an artist donated to it in order to make a grandiose fist-fucking joke.

[Image via AP]