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Star-Power? The Detroit Institute of Arts?

Guess who’s going to be a star of the inaugural “Freep Film Festival” this month? Yes, the Detroit Institute of Arts — and along with the DIA, to a certain extent, art museums everywhere.

Detroit-Institute-ArtsThe Detroit Free Press is hosting this festival Mar. 20-23, focusing on “Detroit and Michigan-themed documentaries, along with film discussions, panels and a few other surprises.”  Great idea, just to start. Then today, it ran an article headlined DIA documentary ‘Detroit Art City’ added to Freep Film Festival lineup

When I went to look for a trailer of Detroit Art City, I found instead the whole doc: It was posted on YouTube, here, by Detroit Public TV.

I wasn’t sure about it at first: it shows museum people saying that art museums are having an identity crisis, and one woman insisting that “art isn’t enough” anymore, because it’s not “relevant.” Nonsense, art is enough, depending on how it is displayed, explained, marketed, etc. But soon enough, the documentary turns to the DIA’s history, its reinstallment a few years back — one that is accessible without dumbing down, from what I’ve seen on my visit there. It chronicles the millage campaign. And so on.

Much of the ground the documentary covers may be specific to the DIA, but it applies in general to many museums. It’s worth a look.

The documentary ends, unfortunately, saying that Detroit declared bankruptcy last summer and that “the DIA is prepared to fight.” So you don’t get all the strum und drang of the last few months.

And there’s another problem: the video says it’s just over an hour and 32 minutes — but that timing includes segments of Detroit Public TV’s fundraising drive. You can speed though them.




an ArtsJournal blog