It’s the kind of trajectory most young artists would kill for: a group show debut one month, a buzzy solo exhibition the next. Then again, this particular artist is used to moving up in the world quickly.
That would be Anna Sorokin, aka Anna Delvey, the “SoHo Scammer” who bilked banks, hotels, and friends out of hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2013 and 2017 while maneuvering to open her Anna Delvey Foundation (ADF). In March, Sorokin lent a handful of sarcastic sketches, all completed behind bars, to a New York pop-up exhibition staged in her name† Now, the convict is chipping away at a body of work for a one-woman show.
The event could come as soon as late April or early May, explained Chris Martine, an art dealer who now represents Sorokin through an advisory firm called Founders Art Club, but details have been hard to nail down.
“We’re in a little bit of a holding pattern right now,” he told Artnet News. “We’ve got a portion of the original works that Anna has created, but we’re waiting for her to finish the rest of the collection.”
The delay has less to do with the upstart artist’s process than it does her access to material. In what he calls a “trial-and-error situation,” Martine has been attempting to send the inmate various art supplies—acrylic paints, watercolors, erasers—only to have most confiscated by staff at the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, New York, where she is currently detained. Just a few colored pencils, pens, and a small pad of paper made it through to Sorokin.
Martine has had better luck with supplying his artist with inspiration, though. Upon Sorokin’s request, he sent her photographs of familiar places, among them the ritzy New York restaurants Balthazar and Sant Ambroeus; La Mamounia, the five-star hotel in Marrakech where she famously stayed with Rachel DeLoache Williams† and Passages, the Malibu rehab facility where she was arrested in 2017.
It seems likely that those locations, well-known to those who followed the Sorokin saga—or at least binge-watched it on Netflix—will appear throughout the 20 or so drawings expected to comprise the exhibition. At least that was the case with the five drawings Sorokin contributed to “Free Anna Delvey,” the pop-up group show mounted last month.
Fusing self-portraiture and self-parody, Sorokin turned herself into a character both hyperaware of her situation and staunchly unbothered by it. One drawing, for example, depicts her sunning in a prison yard, glammed out in Miu Miu shades and a Tom Ford blouse. She’s reading the Sally Rooney novel Normal People and, according to a caption, “looking for tips.”
“It caught me right in the feels, someone making sarcastic drawings in prison,” said Alfredo Martinez, who cocurated the group show. He, like Anna, was convicted of fraud (his charges stemmed from selling forged Basquiat drawings), then turned to art in prison. Also represented by Founders Art Club, Martinez introduced Martine to Sorokin several months ago.
In the upcoming exhibition, whose location has not yet been announced, Sorokin’s sketches will be priced at $10,000 a pop. That’s a steep price to pay for the work of someone whose art career is younger than a preschooler (and whose drawings, a critic might argue, resemble those of one), but not for a genuine piece of celebrity ephemera.
Either way, interest is high, Martine said. the waitlist for a series of limited-edition prints based on Sorokin’s illustrations is already more than 1,000 names long. “It’s a frenzy, to say the least,” Martine mused. “People love a comeback story.”
“It’s ironic,” Sorokin recently told the New York Times† “How after having failed so publicly while trying to build ADF a couple of years ago, people are way more interested in hearing my voice now than they were back in 2017.”
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