Friday, September 22, 2023

Burning a Frida Kahlo Drawing to Sell NFTs Is a Bad Idea

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Shreya Christina
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It’s hard for NFT enthusiasts out there – the market has slowed down significantly, sales have plummeted since peaks, and the people involved in the space, are looking for ways to get their projects some attention.

For crypto entrepreneur Martin Mobarak, the best way to do that was to destroy art by Frida Kahlo, worth $10 million. In July, at a party for Mobarak’s Frida.NFT project, the art collector burned a drawing of Kahlo in front of a cheering crowd, according to the Miami Herald, promising to use the profits from NFT sales for charity.

“I am proud to say that this event will solve some of the world’s biggest problems in honor of Frida Kahlo,” reads a title slide in a video produced by the NFT company.

But according to The New York Times, the project has so far sold only four of the 10,000 NFTs it has created — a return of about $11,000 on a $10 million stunt. In addition, the controversial promotional tactic may have violated Mexican law.

Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature considers Kahlo’s work national monuments, and destroying them is a crime. In September, the institute announced that it is investigating whether Mobarak’s drawing is an original Kahlo piece. It is unclear whether authorities have shared their findings about the authenticity of the piece.

The website for the project describes it as an effort to bring collectors, creators and art lovers together and introduce Kahlo’s work to the metaverse. On OpenSea, the NFT project is described as “the only surviving link to Frida Kahlo’s diary painting, Fantasmones Siniestrosexisting.” With almost no interest in the NFTs and the original drawing (maybe) in ash, the world’s connection to Fantasmones Siniestros seems thinner than ever.

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