With various claims to ownership currently being litigated, a large Yayoi Kusama work on view in Miami through the city’s Institute of Contemporary Art cannot leave Miami-Dade County for now, a Florida court said.
The work, a 2016 “Infinity Mirror Room” work called All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins, is one of the core pieces in a lawsuit brought by the German art firm Fine Art Partners against dealer Inigo Philbrick, who has been accused of illegally withholding millions of dollars in art. FAP has alleged that it agreed to buy the work from Philbrick for $3.3 million. The firm has claimed that Philbrick, who previously maintained a gallery with a space in London and an office in Miami, later sold the work to Saudi Arabian entity called MVCA without their knowing.
“Without an injunction, FAP will lose the ability to be made whole because it will lose a unique, one-of-a-kind work,” Valerie R. Manno, a judge in Miami-Dade County’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court, wrote in the temporary injunction issued on Wednesday. “An injunction will allow FAP to litigate its case without fear that the Kusama will disappear into the night.”
According to the injunction, the work will remain on view in the ICA Miami presentation (which is hosted in an off-site space) through January 31, the date through which the installation had been expected to stay up. After the show’s run, the installation will be broken down and disassembled. FAP had said in a prior filing that it feared that MVCA might remove the work from Florida soon after the show ended.
Representatives for FAP and Philbrick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FAP’s initial lawsuit was filed in October of last year. In it, the firm claimed that Philbrick has “refused” to return $14 million in artworks by Kusama, Donald Judd, Christopher Wool, and Wade Guyton. The embattled dealer has since faced various other forms of litigation in New York and London, including a pending lawsuit over a Rudolf Stingel painting sold at Christie’s last year and a freeze on his assets.
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