Mark Young, president of the Detroit Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, which represents about 500 mid-level managers in Detroit’s police department, said art should not outweigh workers, whose pensions and benefits are likely to face big cuts as Detroit restructures.“The Van Gogh must go,” said Young. “We don’t need Monet – we need money.”
Gentry liberals—university profs, cutting edge art mavens, foundation executives—like to think of themselves as the key, leading members in the blue coalition. But as the money runs out and the civil war heats up, there’s a tendency to throw the gentry liberals under the bus. This has been happening for years now when it comes to the battles over university education in states, as funds for higher ed keep getting cut back. The fight over paying pensions versus hanging on to Van Goghs brings this tendency to the fore.The article notes that the museum has readied itself for a protracted legal battle, should Detroit’s emergency manager Kevin Orr try to sell the art. It has retained a fancy bankruptcy lawyer and has been saving for months to fund legal costs. This fight looks like it’s going to get ugly.