FBI takes possession of art exhibit from Orlando Museum of Art

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Federal Bureau of Investigation took possession of an art exhibit from the Orlando Museum of Art on Friday.


The Orlando Museum of Art told Channel 9 that it “complied with a request from the FBI for access to the Heroes and Monsters exhibit.”

Controversy has swirled 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.

READ: Orlando Museum of Art director defends authenticity of Basquiat paintings

A picture of the back of the painting titled “Crown Face II,” which was done on a FedEx cardboard box, was the focus of an article in the New York Times questioning the authenticity of the art at the museum, saying this type of box was used six years after the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat died.

The director of OMA, Aaron De Groft, said that before the paintings came to the museum, they were scrutinized and authenticated as the works of Basquiat.

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A spokesperson with the museum said that the exhibit is now in the FBI’s possession. They said that they don’t believe the museum is the subject of any investigation.

“We continue to see our involvement purely as a fact witness,” the spokesperson said.

The exhibit was set to close on June 30.

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“Given the sensitivities, we are not able to comment further,” the spokesperson said.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.

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