Category Archives: Public Art

Public Art Collection — Mere public commodity or cultural treasure worthy of particular legal protection?

Gerhard Richter: “A public art collection is not a financial investment that can be plundered depending on the cash situation. It is a piece of art history and represents the cultural memory of its trustees.” *

On June 27, city council members will determine the fate of Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany, located near Cologne. It is proposed that the modern and contemporary art museum, open since 1951, be shut down and its art collection be sold as a cost saving measure. The Detroit Institute of Arts narrowly escaped such a fate in 2014. How many others teeter on edge of such decisions?

Is a public art collection different than any other public property or commodity? If so, how?

And pointedly, how should laws effectively address this to protect what is our irreplaceable cultural heritage?

It is my hope that communities will proactively devise effective legal and policy measures now — to protect our cultural treasures — prior to unforeseen financial difficulties experienced by any given public institution.

“Art and contemporary culture are essential to a healthy individual and an enlightened global community.” (I Require Art™)

—Jules Cavanaugh


*Richter quote: Gareth Harris, © 2016 The Art Newspaper, February 29, 2016,

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