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Two sisters of the late, New York City-based modern artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, filed a $1 million lawsuit against Christie’s in Manhattan’s Federal District Court on Tuesday, March 4. Basquiat’s siblings claim that the auction house tried to sell possible fakes and falsely suggested that a number of the works had been authenticated by the estate.

The works in question are being offered by Alexis Adler, Basquiat’s former girlfriend and roommate, and include poems written on scrap paper, painted clothing, a sketchbook, prints, and collages. The suit states that six of the more than three dozen items being offered were authenticated by the estate in 2007, but one was rejected because the committee did not consider it a work of art. The other objects were never submitted for the authentication committee’s approval. The lawsuit states that despite bypassing the committee, Christie’s included a notice in the auction catalog that the works being offered had been copyrighted by the estate. Basquiat’s sisters are seeking a court order barring the auction house from using the estate’s name in the sale.

The Basquiat auction, which is being held online and at the auction house, began on Monday, March 2 and will run through Monday, March 17.

Basquiat, who rose to fame in the 1980s, died of a drug overdose in 1988. His graffiti-inspired Neo-expressionist and Primitivist paintings remain highly influential in the realm of contemporary art.

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After three years at the helm of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), former New York art dealer, Jeffrey Deitch, is expected to resign as director. Deitch announced his intention to leave the institution to MOCA's trustees and board. He is currently in the middle of a five-year contract with the museum.

Prior to joining MOCA in 2010, Deitch ran the Deitch Project, a massively successful and pioneering contemporary art gallery in Manhattan. He also served on the authentication committee of the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of Deitch’s close friends.

Deitch’s tenure at MOCA has been plagued by criticism. After firing longtime chief curator Paul Schimmel in 2012, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Catherine Opie and Barbara Kruger resigned from the museum’s board, leaving it void of artist representation. While MOCA was in poor financial standing when Deitch came on board, the museum continued to fall into financial despair during his time as director. The museum is just starting to regain its footing after fundraising efforts by board members garnered over $75 million in donations.

A meeting is schedule for MOCA’s board on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. A search committee is expected to form shortly after.

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