The FBI raided an art museum in Florida on Friday and seized more than two dozen paintings believed to be by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

The FBI raided an art museum in Florida on Friday and seized more than two dozen paintings believed to be by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat following questions over their authenticity.

Orlando Museum of Art spokeswoman Emilia Bourmas-Fry said in a statement that it is complying with an FBI order regarding access to the ‘Heroes and Monsters’ exhibit, which is now in government possession. She added that none of the museum’s staff had been arrested.

“It is important to note that we have not yet been led to believe that the Museum has been or is the subject of any investigation,” Bourmas-Fry said. “We continue to treat our participation purely as a factual witness.”

According to the search warrant, federal art crime investigators have been looking at 25 paintings since soon after they were discovered in 2012. The controversy gained more attention soon after the exhibition. Orlando opens in February.

Basquiat, who lived and worked in New York City, was successful in the 1980s when he joined the Neo Expressionism movement. The Orlando Museum of Art was the first to display works believed to have been found in an old closet years after Basquiat’s 1988 death from a drug overdose at the age of 27.

Questions about the authenticity of the artworks arose almost immediately after their discovery. The artwork is believed to have been made in 1982, but experts have pointed out that the cardboard used in at least one of the works with the FedEx typeface wasn’t used until 1994, about six years after Basquiat’s death, according to the subpoena. In addition, television writer Thad Mumford, the owner of the cupboard where the work was eventually found, told investigators he never owned any of Basquiat’s works and these works. was not in the unit last time he visited. Mumford passed away in 2018.

Orlando Museum of Art director Aaron De Groft has repeatedly asserted that the artwork is legitimate.

The exhibit was initially announced to run until June 2023 in Orlando, then the museum announced it would end next week. Bourmas-Fry said the owner of the artwork has refused to renew his contract with the museum and is planning to send the works to Italy for exhibition.

“Based on my training and experience, I believe the international departure date of the Mumford Collection from OMA is to avoid further scrutiny by the public and law enforcement for provenance and authenticity. authenticity of works”. written in the subpoena request.

No criminal charges have been filed.

https://6abc.com/jean-michel-basquiat-famous-artwork-paintings-orlando-museum/11995075/ The FBI raided an art museum in Florida on Friday and seized more than two dozen paintings believed to be by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Mike Fahey

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