Quote of the Day: Aaron De Groft

Follower of Jean-Michel Basquiat, n.d.

"Shut up. You took the money. Stop being holier than thou.… Do your academic thing and stay in your limited lane."

Orlando Museum of Art director Aaron De Groft to an unnamed "Expert-2" 

This morning the FBI seized all 25 paintings in the Orlando Museum's "Heroes and Monsters: Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Thaddeus Mumford, Jr. Venice Collection." That the paintings were fake was obvious to seemingly everyone except museum director De Groft. The unnamed Expert-2 told the FBI that she had been paid $60,000 to evaluate the artworks, and her conclusions were being misrepresented. When she asked De Groft to remove her name from the exhibition, he responded with the words above.

UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the Orlando Museum board has removed De Groft from his post as director, citing "the recent revelation of an inappropriate e-mail correspondence" with a consulting scholar. "Expert-2" was identified as Jordana Moore Saggese, an associate professor of art at the University of Maryland and editor of The Jean-Michel Basquiat Reader.


On what basis is Orlando Museum of Art director Aaron De Groft insisting these 25 purportedly pseudo Basquiats are genuine?: his own professional opinion and expertise?
I checked his bibliography at Watson Library and find his areas of concern are architecture and late-Renaissance and Baroque art... Hardly the last word on Reagan-era New York artists.
If one cardboard support proves it couldn't be a Basquiat, then De Groft should take his own advice and "Shut up" and "stay in your limited lane."
Follow the facts. Let the truth win out.
Anonymous said…
Second-tier museums, such as in Orlando, always remind me of the overly humble past of LACMA, including its version in Exposition Park.

I've been mulling over for several days what I experienced at the Louvre Museum, and then trying to figure out what this somewhat new art museum in Mexico City is all about (LACMA more recently has been going on a Central/South-American kick). I'm wondering what's good, what's bad, what's first-rate, what's not, what's visitor friendly, what isn't.


The Soumaya makes me think of a bit of what's likely with the upcoming Zumthor/Govan blob and the Lucas Museum. Both positive and negative features, sort of iffy, kind of shaky-flaky and fragments of non-professionalism. Such museums are perhaps better for TikTok moments than serious scholarship.

But who knows?

The big-time Louvre in Paris was similar to being around a woman who likes wearing way too much perfume and always showing off her diamond rings.
I'd do Soumaya just to see the building.
I'm reminded of the gay boy, who, when asked, "Why did you go to bed with Yoko Ono?", says: "TO SEE THE APARTMENT!"
Isn't that Carlos Slim's place? It beats a Gehry by a mile in Wow!-factor, in my opinion.
I expect he's gathered the usual cache of high-priced culinary treats, goodies for every palate.
Anonymous said…
^ LOL.

As for the Soumaya, I'd say that Bilbao is better. What's interesting is the architect of the museum in Mexico City had help with the building's engineering from Frank Gehry.

Yes, as for the owner, that is the same Slim. He's a major investor in the NY Times and is a wealthier version of Eli Broad.

As with Broad too, Slim got into art collecting through the interests of his wife. But unlike Eli and Edythe Broad and their museum, Slim's wife died a few decades ago. The museum in Mexico is named posthumously for her.

The Soumaya apparently has a collection of sculpture by Auguste Rodin that blows other non-French museums out of the water.
Per The Times this morning: Orlando just 86'd De Groft.
Anonymous said…
People like De Groft are the Amber Heards or Will Smiths of the art world. The world of culture in general.
Re anonymous comment immediately above:
A quote from HBO's The Gilded Age may be apt here: "I wonder if sometimes you don't overstate your arguments a bit."