Burning a Frida Kahlo drawing to sell NFTs is a bad idea


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

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

“I’m proud to say 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 only sold four of the 10,000 NFTs it created — a roughly $11,000 return on a $10 million stunt. On top of that, the controversial promotion tactic may have broken 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 it was investigating whether Mobarak’s drawing was an original Kahlo piece. It’s unclear if authorities have shared their findings on the authenticity of the piece.

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


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