In Pictures: Do Those Confiscated Paintings at the Orlando Museum of Art Actually Look Like Basquiats? Judge for Yourself

The museum has already scrubbed all mention of the show, titled "Heroes and Monsters," from its website.

Lee Jaffe, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Courtesy of the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Lee Jaffe, Jean-Michel Basquiat. Courtesy of the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

On Friday, June 24, FBI agents raided the Orlando Museum of Art, removing every single painting from “Heroes and Monsters,” a show that claimed to debut 25 never-before-seen works by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The show would’ve been a milestone—but it may have been too good to be true. And suddenly, everyone on Twitter was an art appraiser having an absolute field day.

Following the raid, the museum obliterated all evidence that the show ever happened its website. When it came to light that former director Aaron De Groft had threatened an academic named Jordana Moore Saggese for acting “holier than thou” when she tried to distance herself from the works she’d been paid to verify, the museum obliterated De Groft too, removing him from his post.

Perhaps the biggest red flag, however, comes with a work that Basquiat allegedly painted on the back of a FedEx box.

Now it’s time to take this case to the people. Below, we’ve pulled together as many images of the artworks in question we could find. What do you make of them?

Untitled (Yellow and Black Buildings) featured in the “Heroes and Monsters” show. Via Orlando Museum of Art.

Untitled (Self-Portrait or Crown Face II) the work allegedly painted in acrylic, wax crayon, and paint stick on the back of FedEx shipping material. Via Orlando Museum of Art.

This apparent TV screen grab posted to Twitter by NYC-based artist Pastiche Lumumba exposes another alleged Basquiat from “Heroes and Monsters.”

As reported by the New York Times on February 16, 2022: “De Groft was convinced of [a] meeting between Basquiat and Mumford by this poem, said to have been written by Mumford and initialed in oilstick by Basquiat commemorating the artworks’ creation.” Via Orlando Museum of Art.

Untitled (Self-portrait with his cowboy hat and wearing Leonardo da Vinci’s flying suit), allegedly painted by Basquiat in 1982 on corrugated cardboard. Via Orlando Museum of Art.

Reptiles with Claws and Crown (King of Creatures), another alleged Basquiat once featured on Orlando Museum of Art’s site. Via The Wayback Machine.

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