Curators offer show of support for Detroit museum

DETROIT (AP) — The Association of Art Museum Curators plans to hold its annual conference in Detroit as a show of support for the Detroit Institute of Arts, which is having some items in its collection assessed following the city’s bankruptcy filing this summer.

The May 4-6 conference is expected bring together about 300 museum curators from around the world, the association said Thursday. At least one day of conference programming is to be devoted to the DIA and the importance of its collection.

“We have watched the situation in Detroit and at the DIA very closely this year,” Emily Ballew Neff, president of the AAMC, said in a statement. “We believe that moving our conference to the DIA affirms our support of one of the most outstanding museum collections in the world.”

The conference was originally scheduled for Houston, which will now host it in 2016, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The museum’s future has been the subject of increased attention following the city’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, which was the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. International auction house Christie’s has been hired by state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr to appraise some pieces of the museum’s collection.

Christie’s has said city-owned items in the museum’s collection will be examined and it will recommend ways for the city to “realize value” for the DIA’s collection without relinquishing ownership of it. Art could be used as collateral for a loan, for example.

The museum has said its collection should be protected from possible sale.

The DIA is considered one of the top art museums in the country and is home to hundreds of paintings and sculptures by Van Gogh, Bruegel the Elder, Renoir and other masters. The city purchased many of the pieces in the collection years ago during more prosperous times.



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