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the Detroit Institute of Arts

The dire events unfolding this past year at the Detroit Institute of Arts—where the sale of part of the institution’s permanent collection is under consideration due to Detroit’s bankruptcy—have far-reaching repercussions that speak to the crises of the American city and of cultural value itself. But here, Artforum takes a more personal tack, bringing attention to the museum’s collection and its lasting impact by asking three generations of artists, writers, and musicians closely connected to the city to discuss an artwork at the DIA that holds particular meaning for them.

Ray Johnson, January/February, 1966, painted wood and paper on board, 30 x 30".

Memory is not an instrument for surveying the past but its theater. . . . He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging.

Walter Benjamin, Berlin Childhood Around 1900

THE DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS has been a local theater of imagination, pride, and wonder since

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