3Squared Gallery, 157 W. 24th ST, NYC 10001



the show opened: FRI SEPT 1, 2017 / & IT WAS >>> GREAT !!!!!!




Mr. Martinez channels Jean-Michel Basquiat’s mid-career avatar as retrospective.
His intention is to exhume Jean-Michel’s 2nd act into 20 paintings.


Alfredo Martinez convinced an art collector . . .

(who remains unnamed despite inquiry, lol / though the story is pretty much entirely true !!
I know that – because I witnessed it first hand. I had just started working for Walter Robinson at artnet in 2002 & I attended & covered the Forgery trial for artnet. Alfredo got sent to the BIG HOUSE for 2 years.
of course, I knew Alfredo !!
from way back, to the early if not mid-1990s for sure. but no, I did not mastermind the caper, as he likes to claim – “it was all your idea !!”
though it was me and Simon Cerigo, my R.I.P. hubby – who introduced him to Tom Warren . . from whom he shiftily lifted the bonafide Basquait Certificate of Authenticity. and yes . . he, Alfredo did ask me, on more than one occasion – to offer his ‘real’ fake Basquiats for sale on his behalf – as I was perfectly positioned to do so, since I had known Jean-Michel & I now worked for the venerable artnet, as a reporter/photographer.
~NANCY SMITH / who scribbles this website & carves it out of her heart, I might add. if you haven’t noticed.)

but wait !!
we got a little ahead of the story !!
I will interject . . more intimate liner ‘notes’ – where appropriate.)

so a blonde walks into a bar, oops wrong story !!

so, ALFREDO MARTINEZ convinced an art collector . . .
(he was in the height of his art world glory at the time. in his early 30s ?
and quite cute. as far bad boy cuteness goes.)

and convinces an art collector (rumored to be LEO KOENIG) to purchase two drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat which belonged to Tom Warren in the late winter of 2001 for a bargain price.

(now, heads up young newbies on the scene:
Tom Warren, who was at the time, a bit player / a somewhat ‘documentary’ photographer on the scene, who toiled away his whole entire life as an art handler for a big auction house, and prob still does / though reportedly he’s gone a little insane, just saying. really did have about 10 – 15 real, early Basquiats !!
how he got them ?
he went to a party at Jean-Michel’s loft, a lot of us were there, but good ole Tom was the only one, BRIGHT ENOUGH, to rummage through the studio trash can, and he fished dem drawings right out of the trash !! YEP, TRUE STORY.
and, he not so soon after Basquiat moves on to the next world, went on to have them certified with those Letters of Authenticity – which are pure gold, or may as well be.)

These 2 absolutely bonafide Basquiat works – were in fact exhibited, as Tom Warren’s contribution, in the notorious ‘WELCOME TO THE PLAYGROUND OF THE FEARLESS’ group show of downtown hardcore artists / that Alfredo put on after 9-11, in a big street level warehouse loft space in Williamsburg, on Berry Street, 90 N.11 & Berry / & managed by Jeff Gompertz at the time. later to become a huge bar.
(and, yes. I had work in it, & I have about 4 rolls of 35mm film documenting the show – in my archives, btw)

so anyways: Alfredo took ‘charge’, lol of returning the 2 authentic pieces that had been pilfered, to Tom Warren.
but before he actually returned them, he made his own versions !!

(and turns out he was a natural at doing phony Basquiats, btw / just had the hand & eye. bros from another mother, that close.)

‘WELCOME TO THE PLAYGROUND of the FEARLESS’ – the exhibition card

the press release for “The Real Fake” goes on to say:

After returning the drawings, Martinez mentioned to Tom, that “there was interest” in the work from collectors who had seen the work in the show. He said he wanted to ‘make copies’ of the Certificates of Authenticity before shopping the works around, so he could bring them along as proof they existed. Warren handed them over to Alfredo.

(without a second thought. Alfredo immediately scampered over to KINKOS, the big xerox copy shop at that time & made copies. he then returned the copies to Warren, and KEPT THE REAL ONES !!
oh yeah.)

and then, he sold the FAKE / forged Basquiats – with the real Letters of Authenticity.

after this, is where the current press release gets a little bit sketchy.
it declares, fast forward:
“The collector was tipped off that the paintings were were fake by a Chelsea dealer who subsequently notified the FBI.”

lordy: the real background story:
the Chelsea ‘dealer’/ haha, ex-drug dealer / art collector . . . one squirmy dude by name of LIO MALCA, who did indeed blow the whistle . . had at this time bought the Soho loft of Josh Harris {of ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’ fame & a big patron saint / confidante of Alfredo’s} & that’s how he found himself close to the action.

Alfredo had him, lock, stock & barrel . . until those evil twins, the ENGERS BROS. started coming around with tons of other REAL Basquiat merchandise, and LIO being somewhat shifty himself, caught on real quick, and got real mad / at being swindled and yes, he did call the FBI. I mean, don’t ever rip off a drug dealer, even an ex one. Alfredo !!
what were you thinking ?

& I’m not slandering him, because I attended the Martinez- Basquiat Forgery trial for artnet, and he had to testify in court, ad he had to admit under oath – to selling coke and serving his time. so it’s on the god damn record.
though if you never hear from me again, y’all know why and call the cops.

this was me – at the time, when I was first hanging out with Alfredo on the Lower East Side.
unknown, and over-looked by the mainstream art world, but mischievous as hell.
with the photos, to prove it.
NANCY SMITH, ca 1999. that’s my 35mm camera I’m holding, in a case.

“THE REAL FAKE” press release continues:

Claiming to be collectors, FBI undercover agents led Martinez (and one of them a gorgeous blonde agent, btw – according to Alfredo ) to make more Real / Fake Basquiats, and Certificates in an elaborate sting operation . . and he was apprehended by the FEDS on June 19, 2002.

(a date he seems to remember well, lol. they couldn’t get him on ‘forgery’ because that was too murky, so they got him on out-of-state WIRE FRAUD, having him ship the REAL / FAKE package out of town & receiving the illicit funds in return.
Long story short – Alfredo went to jail for 2 years.
where he was quite the celeb, painting portraits with handmade coffee pigment, of all the hard-core gangsters he was housed with / because of his real, fake weapon-making skills, another story, for another day. essentially: is that a Saturday live special or a bar of soap ?
not to forget, the Hunger Strike episode.)

JOSH HARRIS and ALFREDO MARTINEZ . . re-create the famous ‘WARHOL – BASQUIAT’ pose.
it is summer of 2010 in Williamsburg, again a Jeff Gompertz loft, lol.
Josh had just rescued Alfredo from the dark hole of SECRET DETENTION in China, on weapons charges, what else ?!!!
seems he couldn’t quite convince them – those were real, FAKE weapons.
true story.
and he in fact came back quite damaged, and traumatized, and said he had been tortured.

“THE REAL FAKE” press release continues . . .

ALFREDO MARTINEZ’ art career . . began in 1993 (he would be about 20), at Pat Hearn Gallery, the show was a happening called ‘Skater Angels’ produced by David Greenberg and and Diego Cortez . . . and he went on to participate in the seminal “BONG” group show at the now legendary ALLEGED.

(but to my mind, his biggest claim to fame, at the time, was that he lived for a while with the now world famous . . MARIKO MORI !!!)

His heights of legitimacy came when he exhibited in group shows at the original P.S 1 . . . in the summer of of 2000, ROBERTA SMITH reviewed a big group exhibition he curated called ‘Na-er Do Wells’, for the New York Times. That same year, “a dot.com millionaire by the name of JOSHUA HARRIS, (in collaboration with Leo Koenig) financed an indoor automatic weapon firing range designed by Martinez for a Millennial project entitled: ‘QUIET’.

(this went on to become the basis of the film: ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’, which went on to win BEST DOCUMENTARY at Sundance in 2009 / and in which . . I have a rather inglorious, & inadvertant starring role / in that I was the one who got kicked out – for getting into a (serious / one punch she was down, unconscious) fight, boy was I pissed off, and with good friggin reason.)

MARTINEZ . . is a bonafide weapons expert, he spent several years working with Rick Washburn at WEAPONS SPECIALISTS Limited.

(the JIM JARMUSCH 1999 film, ‘GHOST DOG’ with Forest Whitaker was inspired by Alfredo, & in fact Alfredo made all the replica gun props.)

(the last paragraph of the press release is very telling. the press release was obviously penned by JOSH HARRIS, himself . . who is an urban tech / art legend unto himself, often termed the Andy warhol of the web. Josh started off with selling a second hand car for $700 . . built JUPITER.COM, the first web ‘trend’ tracking site & . . was worth a cool $81 million buckeros when Alfredo, and then I . . . meet up with him.

It was Alfredo who brought me to work on Josh’s ‘Pseudo’, talk about ‘REAL / FAKE’ !!! crew, where I started off as Josh’s very own, bonafide . . antique American quilt consultant !! and quickly worked my way up, to being his art world liasion, talent scout, and personal assistant . . really, really rather quickly. to the chagrin of many others, who had been in the crew way longer.

this is the last paragraph:

“These were noteworthy achievements for someone who never graduated from high school. In a field (the art world) where academic legitimacy is highly revered, Martinez managed to do remarkably well (and bad, lol !!), with only an eleventh grade education. In this regard, he is a true folk artist , an elitist term synonymous with ‘outsider’, a derelict.”

well, apparently, it’s not just HENRY D. THOREAU . . who can write a mountain !! out of some fairy dust !!

damn, what’s a blog – if not a PERSONAL JOURNAL.

see you, at the show, tomorrow night.


when I read about Thoreau’s terrible, terrible ‘WOODS BURNER’ accident, lighting more than 300 acres of pristine wild land on fire, I thanked my lucky stars, that that stupid chick who taunted me at ‘Quiet’, eventually got up & was ok. could have easily been, not.

likewise, Alfredo has had a couple of close calls too. he once shot a gun at a wall, in a room, and the bullet ricocheted off it, and hit his girlfriend at the time – right smack in the forehead. lucky it was on a spent trajectory, and it just grazed her . . being just one close call.

Josh also had a close call, something like leaving a gun unattended, and a friend came over to visit with a small child.

come on, in some ways — the whole damn art world . . is a close call !!!!
people get damaged, left & right.

we were all so hard-core underground, that we are still pretty much . . under-the radar.

and I think that’s what . . Josh is also so, amazed about – considering all the exploits and accomplishments.

including ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’, including ALFREDO’S CAPERS, & including ARTLOVERSNEWYORK, this . . major street cred / of a blog / of a journal.
just scroll down the left hand margin, I called it – ALL.


I don’t think we can really be denied !! – FOREVER ?!!!

just got give those staid ole, same old same old critics – and those ‘paid-for’ mainstream art magazines, a big swift kick in the pants, if not a rubber bullet to the forehead.