The fight to defend the artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is of the highest importance to young people and workers in Detroit, across the United States and internationally. In threatening to sell the collection of one of the premier art museums, the ruling elite is demonstrating its antagonism to everything of value in the development of human thought and culture.
These 2013 statements, on the fight to mobilize the working class against the sale of the DIA artworks by Detroit’s unelected emergency manager, examine the historical background of the Detroit bankruptcy, and demonstrate that the defense of art and culture requires a struggle against capitalism, which is run entirely in the interests of a handful of billionaires.
“Art cannot save itself. The nourishment of art and artists must come from the working class, which emerges as the defender of all that is progressive in human history, and the socialist perspective,” writes Joseph Kishore.
David Walsh reviews the history of public museums and their connection to the great democratic movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. The SEP Program on “The right to culture” demands a reversal of the cuts in education, the arts and music, libraries and public institutions, and the expansion of free access to the working class. From an 1883 letter by Vincent Van Gogh: “The art trade [has become] all too much a sort of bankers’ speculation and it still is …”
The pamphlet has four-color images from the DIA collection, including the Diego Rivera murals, Van Gogh’s “Self Portrait” of 1887, and Claude Monet’s 1876 “Gladioli.”