Orlando Museum of Art announces change in directors following investigation

After the FBI seized the museum’s Basquiat exhibit, officials announced a change in leadership

A criminal complain affidavit alleges that Palm Beach art dealer Daniel Elie Bouaziz schemed to sell paintings that he said were originals by famous artists such as Jean-Michael Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein. (WPLG)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Following a raid by the FBI where investigators seized the Orlando Museum of Art’s Basquiat exhibit, museum officials have announced a change in leadership.

The Basquiat exhibit — titled “Heroes and Monsters” — came under scrutiny after questions arose surrounding the authenticity of the exhibit’s art pieces.

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Despite experts suggesting otherwise, former Orlando Museum of Art Director Aaron De Groft repeatedly insisted that the art was legitimate.

Emilia Bourmas-Fry, the museum’s director of marketing and communications, said the museum’s board of trustees is “extremely concerned” about the issues involving the exhibit, including an “inappropriate” e-mail correspondence sent to academic experts regarding some of the exhibit’s art pieces.

“Effective immediately, Aaron De Groft is no longer Director and CEO of Orlando Museum of Art,” Bourmas-Fry said in a statement. “Joann Walfish, a longtime employee who has served as CFO, has been appointed interim COO and will lead the organization during this transition.”

Bourmas-Fry added that the museum is also making some new decisions regarding upcoming exhibits, which the museum plans to announce at a later date.

No information was released about the referenced e-mail correspondence, nor did the museum address whether the correspondence was related to the change in CEOs.

About the Author:

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.