After the Basquiat raid, the Orlando museum faces a credibility crisis

De Groft said new evidence would emerge that would substantiate it and he went on to claim the paintings were recovered from the Los Angeles storage unit of TV screenwriter Thad Mumford, who De Groft said purchased them directly. to Basquiat in 1982. (In their affidavit, the FBI said they interviewed Mumford, who told them that “At no time in the 1980s or at any other time did I meet Jean-Michel Basquiat, and at at no time did I acquire or purchase paintings from him”. )


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As for the three canceled exhibitions, De Groft said they were all equally problem-free. But sources inside the museum, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had been threatened with dismissal if they spoke to the media, said the FBI raid had convinced administrators not to take any more risks. .

One of the canceled shows would have focused on a large painting, according to De Groft, by Jackson Pollock; it is co-owned by Los Angeles District Attorney Pierce O’Donnell, one of the co-owners of the alleged Basquiats. The Pollock – which O’Donnell said he also attempted to sell – remains unauthenticated by the artist’s estate, whose Pollock-Krasner Foundation ceased such appraisals in 1996. It is also specifically cited in the same subpoena from the FBI sent to the OMA in July 2021. , requiring all private correspondence relating thereto.

The second canceled exhibition was to feature a set of drawings by Michelangelo, which several museum employees said had raised internal concerns about their proper attribution. The third canceled show was a traveling exhibition of artwork by hugely popular British artist Banksy. It had been organized by a private, for-profit company, and Banksy himself had disavowed it as one of many exploits of his fame, writing on his website that it “could be shit, so if he please do not come and ask us for a refund”.

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