Mexican Government Investigates Destruction of Frida Kahlo Drawing For NFT

Strange things are afoot in the art world

Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo, with portraits.
Bettmann Archive

What would you do if you owned a drawing by revered artist Frida Kahlo? You could use it as the centerpiece for a private collection, lend it out to a museum or keep it in storage while waiting for the right time to resell it. All of these are reasonably understandable options, and all are things that wealthy art collectors have done with parts of their collections.

And then there’s the route taken by one Martin Mobarak, which involved placing a Kahlo drawing, Fantasmones Siniestros, in a cocktail glass and setting it on fire.

As Mobarak explained in a video, this was done to raise awareness of an NFT of the Kahlo drawing, which was designed to benefit “unfortunate children, battered women and other less fortunate around the world.” Mobarak currently runs a company which sells the aforementioned NFTS — and whose website details the authentication of the drawing which was destroyed (or, as they phrase it, “permanently transitioned into the Metaverse”) on video.

As a recent article in Smithsonian Magazine points out, the Mexican government does not look too kindly upon the destruction of Kahlo’s artwork, and is now investigating whether or not the drawing which was immolated was in fact the genuine article.

Mobarak’s stunt may face challenges from multiple sides. If the drawing was authentic, the Mexican government could take action against him; if it’s not, he could face charges of fraud or violation of copyright law, according to one expert who spoke with the New York Times about the case. Alternately: maybe there’s a reason most art collectors actually collect their art, rather than setting it on fire.

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