Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Detroit Institute of Art to sell flag from Custer's last stand

Apparently its not considered to be a worthy enough objet d'art for such a noble institution as the DIA. One would think it would be the highlight of a Michigan themed exhibition of history.

Custer flag to be sold by DIA

Now, 115 years later, the Detroit Institute of Arts has decided to sell Custer’s Last Flag at auction this fall at Sotheby’s in New York. The estimated price it is expected to fetch?

$2 million to $5 million.

So, why would Sotheby’s think that anyone would pay millions of dollars for a 19th-Century silk flag that, unlike Custer and his charges, survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn? And why would the DIA decide to sell it now after 115 years of stewardship?

Let’s start with the second question. In 1895, the museum was still something of a cabinet of curiosities, including mounted animal heads and model racing sloops. Despite the historical significance of the 27 1/2-by-33-inch flag, it’s no longer considered a work of art, and money from its sale could be put to better use buying something of true aesthetic value.
Wow, a true piece of American history is to be sold off because its not art? Why they don't transfer it to the Michigan Historical Museum or hang it preserved in the Michigan Capitol building's rotunda along with the many battle flags from Michigan Regiments is beyond stupid.

Of course, this is about the DIA selling a piece of Michigan and American history to get money for some more contemporary (and in my opinion far less meaningful) "art". It's a shame that they're doing it, but hopefully the flag ends up in the hands of someone who will care for it and give it the honor it deserves.

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