Businessman burned Frida Kahlo’s drawing to turn it into digital art;
National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature of Mexico wants to verify if the destruction was really the original painting or a reproduction;
In the country, the deliberate destruction of an artistic monument constitutes a crime under the federal law of archaeological, artistic and historical zones and monuments.
A businessman is under investigation after he was filmed burning an untitled drawing by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The work is one of the items found in the painter’s diary, dated between 1944 and 1954, and valued at US$ 10 million (about R$ 54 million).
Martín Mobarak argues that his act will transform the world of digital art. He, who bills himself as an NFT philanthropist and investor, is the founder of the Frida.NFT initiative. His website states that by digitizing the destroyed original, “Frida’s art will be introduced into the metaverse, merging the traditional art world with the digital art world”.
The National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature of Mexico, which considers the drawing a national treasure, now wants to verify whether the destruction was really the original painting or a reproduction. According to a statement released by the website New York Post“in Mexico, the deliberate destruction of an artistic monument constitutes a crime under the federal law of archaeological, artistic and historical zones and monuments”.
According to information from the newspaper The Country, the millionaire admits that the burning of the drawing may be “misunderstood”, however, he claims that this will lead to the artist’s immortalization. “Burning the work will help create a new group of collectors. If Frida Kahlo had known the fate of the donations she intends to make, she would have said to ‘burn it all’.”
Also according to the Spanish newspaper, the millionaire is now inviting the public to buy what he considers to be the “most historic NFT there is”. The sale period will end in November.
In November 2021, the self-portrait “Diego y yo”, by the Mexican artist, was sold for BRL 193 million at the time (US$ 34.9 million) in an auction promoted by Sotheby’s. The amount is the highest ever paid for a work by a Latin American artist.
The painting surpassed the auction house’s expectations, as it was valued at R$158.76 million. The last time it was sold was in 1990, for R$ 7.41 million.