Abirpothi

India’s only daily art newspaper

Anna Sorokin of the much-binged Netflix show puts up her first art exhibit… from prison!

The eponymous main character of Shondaland\’s \’Inventing Anna\’ has put up her first solo exhibit, in the form of 20 sketches drawn while incarcerated for grand larceny

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Anyone who has binge-watched the relatively recent Netflix offering, Inventing Anna, from the stock of noted American producer Shonda Rhimes, has probably been left both fascinated and disturbed by the storyline of Anna Sorokin (parading as Delvey), a Russian-born German con artist and fraudster. 

Between 2013 and 2017, Sorokin pretended to be a wealthy German heiress setting up a highly exclusive art foundation, till she was arrested after defrauding or intentionally deceiving major financial institutions, banks, hotels, and acquaintances in the United States for a total of $275,000.  

In 2019, Sorokin was convicted in a New York state court of attempted grand larceny, larceny in the second degree, and theft of services, and was sentenced to 4-12 years in prison. At present, she is being held in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody pending deportation.  

Her voice, however, seems nowhere near stifled. On Thursday night last week, a room full of guests gathered at New York’s Public Hotel, waiting for Sorokin to video-chat from prison at her first solo art exhibit. The one-night-only event titled “Allegedly” was curated by art dealer Christopher Martine, and featured 20 pieces of art drawn by Sorokin from the Orange County Correctional Facility in New York.  

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From jail, Sorokin told guests, “I wanted to capture some of the moments of the past years, both never-seen-before and iconic, using the limited tools I have at my disposal. Some of the pieces are straightforward, others are more abstract and will be unique in meaning and appearance to the observer. I studied fashion illustration in Paris and haven’t really sketched until my trial… You’ve heard so many voices already, but this is the beginning of me telling my story, my narrative from my perspective. I hope you guys enjoy the show.”  

After a brief dance number by drag queen Yuhua Hamasaki, models wearing sheer black stocking-like hoods, large black sunglasses, little black dresses, black boots and white gloves handled the 20 gold-framed pieces with care, walking through the throngs at the venue. 

The Cut wrote, “Delvey’s pencil drawings fall somewhere between fashion sketches and New Yorker cartoons, labeled in careful script with captions like ‘I am the show’ and ‘Never complain, never explain’… They seem intended as a commentary on her circumstances over the past few years, though the takeaway is not always clear. In Vanilla Ice, Delvey has drawn herself surrounded by a sea of ICE detainees with the words ‘White privilege application status: denied’ written along the bottom.”  

Sorokin’s collection is valued in the $400,000-$500,000 range, per her art dealer Martine. Variety magazine reported that a representative from Sorokin\’s team said, “Copies of the art, lithographs are going to be for sale and sold in lots of 50 at a time, starting at $250 each. After 250 are sold, they start going up in price. If you want to own the collection, you can only own up to 48% of it; 53% of it will always be owned by the Founders Art Club. So, you can buy limited prints, but not the original artwork.” 

Martine told ART News, “She cut corners and did illegal things, she made mistakes and ultimately went to prison for it. But this time around she’s trying to enter the art world in a different way—as an artist. And she obviously has the talent… I think this was just the first step in her new journey as an artist.” 

ART News also clarified that for now, Martine and Sorokin are waiting until she’s out of prison. Once that happens, Martine plans on setting her up with a studio space and materials. “Then we’ll see what she can do,” he told the portal.  

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