CEO and Florida museum part ways following Basquiat raid
ORLANDO, Fla. — (AP) — The Orlando Museum of Art has parted ways with its CEO in the days after the FBI raided the Florida museum and seized more than two dozen paintings attributed to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat that are the subjects of an investigation into possible wire fraud and conspiracy. The statement didn't say if De Groft resigned or was fired, and a museum spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to an emailed question about that on Wednesday. You did this not me or anybody else," De Groft said in the email quoted in the search warrant. According to the search warrant, federal art crimes investigators have been looking into the 25 paintings since shortly after their discovery in 2012. Basquiat, who lived and worked in New York City, found success in the 1980s as part of the Neo-expressionism movement.wftv.com
Orlando Museum of Art CEO out after FBI seizes exhibit
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Director and CEO of the Orlando Museum of Art is out, effective immediately. The move comes less than a week after the FBI took possession of more than two-dozen paintings from the museum, after questions were raised about their authenticity. READ: Orlando Museum of Art director defends authenticity of Basquiat paintingsThe museum is not under investigation and is said to have cooperated with the FBI’s request to turn over the artwork. Video: ‘Quite disappointed’: Visitors react after FBI takes possession of art exhibit from Orlando museum (Angela Jacobs, WFTV.com)READ: OnePulse hires new executive director, plans to buy Pulse site from ownerOrlando Museum of Art Board of Trustees Chair Cynthia Brumback released a statement Friday in response to the controversy. The FBI hasn’t commented on the case except to say that “court-authorized activity” was conducted at the museum and directed all questioning to their Los Angeles office.wftv.com
‘Quite disappointed’: Visitors react after FBI takes possession of art exhibit from Orlando museum
Video: ‘Quite disappointed’: Visitors react after FBI takes possession of art exhibit from Orlando museum (Angela Jacobs, WFTV.com)ORLANDO, Fla. — The FBI swooped in on the Orlando Museum of Art on Friday and took possession of a popular collection of paintings. READ: FBI takes possession of art exhibit from Orlando Museum of ArtVisitors at the Orlando Museum of Art were frustrated on Friday. READ: Orlando Museum of Art director defends authenticity of Basquiat paintingsExpand Autoplay Image 1 of 35 Orlando Museum of Art new exhibition (WFTV.com News Staff)The 25 paintings, billed as Basquiat’s originals, had been found in a storage locker with an estimated value of $100 million. FBI takes possession of art exhibit from Orlando museum (Orlando Museum of Art)A spokesperson with the museum said it complied with the FBI’s request to turn over the work. The FBI told us that “court-authorized activity” was conducted at the museum and questioning should be directed to the FBI Los Angeles office.wftv.com
FBI seizes disputed Basquiat artwork from Florida museum
Basquiat Art Investigation The exterior of the Orlando Museum of Art is seen where artist Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings were on display, Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. On Friday, June 24, 2022, the FBI raided the art museum and seized more than two dozen paintings attributed to Basquiat following questions about their authenticity. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux)The FBI raided a Florida art museum on Friday and seized more than two dozen paintings attributed to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat following questions about their authenticity. The controversy gained more attention shortly after the Orlando exhibit opened in February. Orlando Museum of Art director Aaron De Groft has repeatedly insisted that the art is legitimate. The exhibit was originally publicized to run through June 2023 in Orlando, the museum later announced it was ending next week.wftv.com
Orlando Museum of Art director defends authenticity of Basquiat paintings
ORLANDO, Fla. — People are packing in to see the Orlando Museum of Art’s new Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit, as controversy swirls over the authenticity of the work. The paintings, which were found in the storage locker of a television writer, are said to be worth about $100 million. But the director of OMA, Aaron De Groft, said before the paintings came to the museum they were scrutinized and authenticated as the works of Basquiat. There is no logo on this box.”De Groft said the museum stands behind the authenticity of the art. READ: Long-dead Florida deputy named as ‘only probable’ killer of 11-year-old girl slain in 1983“We stand by our industrial, rigorous academic process,” he said.wftv.com
New York AG: Sotheby's helped rich art lover skirt taxes
NEW YORK – Sotheby's helped an art collector dodge millions of dollars in New York sales taxes, the state attorney general said in a lawsuit filed Friday, accusing the prominent auction house of accepting bogus documentation to spare a top client a tax bill. “Sotheby’s violated the law and fleeced New York taxpayers out of millions just to boost its own sales," Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, said in a statement. Porsal agreed to pay $10.75 million in taxes, damages and penalties over allegations that it skirted sales tax on more than $50 million in art buys from various entities in New York. Other buyers generally owe New York state and city sales tax on art purchased and delivered in the city. Sales tax on the collector's 2010 Kapoor purchase alone would total over $126,000, according to the lawsuit.
California man sentenced in $6M modern art fraud scheme
LOS ANGELES A Southern California man who authorities say tried to sell $6 million worth of phony paintings he claimed were created by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and other modern masters was sentenced Wednesday to five years in federal prison. Philip Righter, 43, of West Hollywood was sentenced in a federal court in Miami after pleading guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and tax fraud, the U.S. attorney's office said. Righter was given 60 months in prison in a case that was filed in Los Angeles. The judge also handed down a five-year sentence in a Florida case in which Righter acknowledged trying to sell forgeries to the owner of a Miami art gallery. Richter sold the bogus artworks from 2016 through June of 2018, creating phony documents to back up his claims that they were genuine, prosecutors said.
Enzian takes a look at the NYC art and music scene of yesteryear with 'Downtown 81'
The music and art scene of New York City in the early 80s is the focus of, a film made by Andy Warhol compatriot Glenn OBrien. Graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat plays a fictionalized version of himself as he wanders through the city looking for a place to sleep after getting evicted. Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida. Unlike many newspapers, ours is free and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlandos true free pressorlandoweekly.com
Attention Shoppers! There's a Ghost in the Well of This Manhattan Clothing Store
At 129 Spring Street, paranormal enthusiasts can find a beautiful brick well in the basement of the clothing store COS. Rumors had always circulated that the The Spring Street Ghost roamed the restaurant, but it wasnt until 1980s that the owners decided to investigate. Throughout the restaurants time on Spring Street, employees claimed that they had seen items spontaneously fly off tables and crash into walls. Matt Anderson, who was the head of mens design for COS, joked in 2014 with the New York Post about The Spring Street Ghost, saying, So we have a ghost, our own COS ghost. In 2017, New York City Department of Records and Information Services conceded that 129 Spring Street was, in fact, haunted.