Mexican collector Martin Mobarak claims to have set fire to a drawing made by Frida Kahlo as part of his NFT initiative Frida.NFT. Video that appeared to show the burning was posted on Twitter by Arte Capital last week.
According to the Frida.NFT FAQ page, the drawing—confusingly labeled a painting in text on the website—was authenticated by Mexican art dealer Andres Siegel before it was destroyed in Mobarak’s Miami apartment at a private event with 200 attendees.
The drawing, Fantasmones sinisteros (1944), was taken out of its sleeve, placed in a martini glass with dry ice, lit on fire, and incinerated.
The Frida.NFT FAQ page states, “The painting was permanently transitioned into the Metaverse on July 30th, 2022.”
According to the website, Frida.NFT will help fund artistic institutions with which Mobarak claims to have worked, including the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City and the Palace of Fine Arts.
Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature released a statement denying that the Palace has ever received a donation or worked with Mobarak. It is still unclear whether the Frida Kahlo museum received funding from Mobarak in the past.
Whether the drawing itself is authentic is also unclear, but Mexican authorities said they plan to investigate it. If they find that the drawing was authentic, Mobarak could face legal trouble.
“In Mexico, the deliberate destruction of an artistic monument constitutes a crime in terms of the Federal Law on Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Monuments and Zones,” the Institute’s statement reads.