Jorge Perez Allegedly Donated Forged Artwork to the Frost Museum

Categories: Art

Jorge Perez of the Related Group.
The authenticity of an untitled painting credited to Cuban artist Carlos Alfonzo is in question after some, including a close friend of the artist, noticed peculiarities about the piece as it hung in an exhibit at FIU's Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum.

The piece, on display as part of the Frost's "From Africa to the Americas" exhibit, was one of 24 works by Cuban artists donated to the museum by Jorge Pérez -- the same Pérez whose donation of artwork and cash to the recently opened Pérez Art Museum Miami earned him the naming rights for that museum.

See also: Jorge Perez's Art Donation to MAM Is Underwhelming

Cesar Trasobares, a Miami artist, friend of the late Alfonzo, and an art adviser who's assisted in authenticating other Alfonzo works, told the Miami Herald that certain things about the painting didn't add up:

The work is dated 1981, a year in which the newly arrived Alfonzo was working odd jobs to survive and "hardly producing any art," Trasobares said. Furthermore, he said, the style of the painting is "incompatible" with the few works Alfonzo did produce in those early years. Nor is the work found on lists of the artist's work, he said.

Trasobares called those inconsistencies to the Frost's attention, and the painting was subsequently removed from the exhibition. The Frost is investigating the painting's origins.

Pérez, meanwhile, appears to stand by the work, saying in a statement that he's shocked by the allegations and noting that none of the visitors to his home, "many of which were well acquainted with the artist," ever noticed anything off about the painting during the 16 years it hung there. He also promised to replace the painting with another Cuban work of art of a similar value or cash if the Alfonzo piece turns out to be a forgery.

The news comes as another blow to Pérez and his Miami art-world dealings, hot on the heels of a highly successful Art Basel week. Pérez Art Museum Miami opened December 4 to wide acclaim, but when the art fairs packed up and left town, art aficionado Rosa de la Cruz unleashed a tirade against the new museum, saying, "PAMM or MAM or whatever it's called is not a contemporary art museum either. The problem with museums in Miami is that they become country clubs. The Miami Herald recently wrote about PAMM: 'Oh, it'll be great because they'll have weddings and bat mitzvahs there.' But museums should not be used as banquet halls."

The Wall Street Journal also offered a bleak assessment of the museum yesterday, calling its assemblage of artwork "a paltry collection" compared to museums in other, smaller cities, with "scarcely a showstopper in the trove."

Much of that work was donated to PAMM by Pérez, whose art-buying expertise is now called into question by the possibility of the fake Alfonzo painting. Art forgery can happen to anyone, the Herald is quick to point out. But in Miami, a town where so many things are not what they seem, the revelation that one of its biggest museum supporters is dealing in forged artwork could have lasting implications for Pérez, PAMM, and Miami's entire institutional arts community. We've learned to be cynical about so much here in South Florida, from fake tans to two-faced politicians. Do we have to add our museums to that list?

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

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frankd4 topcommenter

....................well considering the last mogul's major art collection of MR PAUL who had real art hanging on HIS personal walls (paid for with funds looted from his employees PENSION PLAN) - i would defend MR PEREZs art collection - as is ALL art collections - susceptible to scholarly criticism (forgeries are sometimes SO GOOD that without the forging artist admitting up to it being a scam the piece simply cannot be validated otherwise,  and many a piece having a twin each liable to be the real deal)

the problem with MR PEREZ is the perceived source of HIS wealth which is selling luxury high-rise residential units to DRUG KINGpins simply laundering money by buying condos sight-unseen at astronomical prices per quare foot and left unoccupied thereafter with wired IN cash money funds from foreign LLCs because MIAMI is such an open and known drug transaction economy with police that can be paid off and elected officials who regularly accept bribes and kick-backs - its just too much money to turn down - so MIAMI gives shelter to and accepts with open arms the geo-narco DRUG LORDs who would never survive the scrutiny of NYPD or LAPD or be allowed past NYC or LA residential co-op boards or into palm beach or beverly hills = period

using blood money buying faux pieces and fradulenty art is karma - maybe ?

Samir Vasquez
Samir Vasquez

The title also says "allegedly"....meaning it's probably coming from somewhere that is in opposition to having one of the few public spaces in America with a latino's last name.

Samir Vasquez
Samir Vasquez

Cary Campria Calle Ocho is culture... If you can't embrace that, then you have a twisted misconception of what Miami is.


Perez Art Museum.
Living up to its silly name, apparently.

Cary Campria
Cary Campria

I've always said it, there's no real culture in Miami. Miami's idea of culture is Calle Ocho...

Alex Prieto
Alex Prieto

Seriously Miami should be ashamed at how it has managed to make a VIP Bottle Service Political Cocktail party catastrophe of the arts community. This city makes it so hard sometimes...

Tom Berry
Tom Berry

Yeah, that's what Thom Wolf wrote in Back to Blood. Great Christmas gift idea!!

Brownie Izaguirre
Brownie Izaguirre

Seriously, is there something in the water making people dumber than usual?


Wonderful.  How much of Alfonzo's other stuff is a forgery?  Is Miami a hotbed of bad condominiums, foreclosures and forgeries.  Did Perez hit a trifecta?

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