Christie’s Auction House Under Fire for Visit to See DIA’s Collection
Art critics and online commentators are blasting Christie’s, the New York-based auction house, for possibly angling for a piece of the action should the Detroit Institute of Arts have to sell part of its collection to satisfy creditors in the city’s bankruptcy.
DIA director Graham Beal confirmed that two officials from Christie’s visited the museum in early June, ostensibly to appraise works on view. With the city owing an estimated $18 billion to bondholders, pensioners and others, creditors have been eyeing the city-owned art at the DIA, whose collection is undoubtedly worth billions.
Culture reporter Judith Dobrzynski on Tuesday compared Christie’s behavior to a vulture. “Shame on Christie’s,” she wrote on her blog Real Clear Arts. “Sure, business is business, but let’s remember here that it is not the Detroit Institute of Arts that has mismanaged the city and led to the bankruptcy. … Is Christie’s so hard up that it will take any business, no matter how reprehensible?”
Art critic Tyler Green, who writes the influential art blog Modern Art Notes, used even more incendiary language, tweeting Wednesday that Christie’s “apparently hates Detroit.” In a second tweet, he wrote: “Would we be OK with Big Pharma using a national tragedy to hike up the price of drugs? No. Ditto @Christie’s and its eagerness here.”
It would be a horrific tragedy if DIA was forced to give up its collection. HORRIFIC.
It’s partly my own fault. :( I haven’t visited the DIA in years, even though when I was in high school I worked there as a summer intern.