Just Leave That Botticelli Near the Bike Rack

"Inside | Out" Makes Art Inescapable by Placing Major Works on the Street. Literally.

The phone rang in the office of Salvador Salort-Pons, then Curator of European Paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts. “I found a Van Gogh painting outside the public library, and I don’t want someone to steal it!” said the woman on the other end of the line. “Don’t worry, though, I’ve deployed my husband to protect it.”

Six years later, Salort-Pons is now the Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the museum that left that Van Gogh outside the library—on purpose. The painting was part of its Inside|Out program, …