Anna Delvy: Art in Prison, ‘My Narrative From My Perspective’

Art in Prison, ‘My Narrative From My Perspective’

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“I’m a masterpiece! Look at me, I am Anna,” shouted drag queen Yuhua Hamasaki as she riled up the crowd in full Anna Delvy garb at the imprisoned fake heiress’ one-night-only solo art exhibit.

Hamasaki’s over-the-top impression of the subject of Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix limited series “Inventing Anna” was just the start of a surreal experience put on by the Founders Art Club and Delvey’s art dealer, Christopher Martine, at New York City’s Public Hotel on Thursday night.

“Allegedly” is the collection of 20 pieces of art drawn by Delvey, legal name Anna Sorokin, herself from Orange County Correctional Facility in New York.

Before the work was actually shown, guests at the exclusive event were treated to cocktails, like the “Anna on ICE,” and a recorded message from Delvey played by the DJ. (Of course, Delvey herself could not be there, for obvious reasons.)

“This is a collect call from ‘Anna,’ an inmate in the Orange County Jail,” a recording said, with Delvey subbing in her name when prompted. “To accept this call, press zero, to refuse this call, hang up or press one. Your call was not accepted. Please try again later.”

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Anna Delvey’s art show at the Public Hotel in New York City/Variety

Delvey’s voice came through loud: “Hi everyone, Anna Delvey, here. I hope you guys are enjoying your evening so far. I’m so very excited to unveil my first-ever art collection, titled ‘Allegedly.’ This is a collection of sketches I’ve created while in Orange County Detention. 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 observe. I studied fashion illustration in Paris and haven’t really sketched until my trial.”

Delvey noted: “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.”

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Anna Delvey’s “Allegedly” art show/VarietyVariety

A Russian-born German woman, Delvey rose into the top branches of New York business and society by pretending to have a $60 million fortune. She succeeded in living the high life on private yachts and jets, while doing some creative accounting to get the funding to launch the “Anna Delvey Foundation” art collective  — which she nearly succeeded in doing. She was convicted in May 2019 on eight counts, including grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and theft of services.

Delvey was sentenced 4 to 12 years in prison, fined $24,000 and ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution. She ultimately served just under four years and was released on good behavior in February 2021, before being detained again, this time landing in ICE detention for overstaying her visa. In February, she wrote, reflecting on her time in prison and sharing her take on Netflix’s Julia Garner-led “Inventing Anna.”

The work at Delvey’s “Allegedly” show, created mostly from the pens and pencils available in ICE detention, was displayed by models wearing black stocking-like hoods, large black sunglasses, little black dresses, black boots and white gloves.

The 20 framed pieces were handled with care by the models, despite consistent lack of space due to huge presence of press.



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Once the art had made the rounds, the attendees were instructed to move to another location in the hotel where it would all be on full display. It was during this re-located portion that Delvey made a live-streamed appearance from Orange County Detention to wave at the crowd in her orange jumpsuit and smile at the large number of press that had turned out to her event. “It’s so awesome having everybody!” Delvey said with a grin.

Delvey’s collection is valued in the $400-500k range, per her art dealer Martine.

“Copies of the art, lithographs are going to be for sale and sold in lots of 50 at a time, starting at $250 each,” a representative from Delvey’s team told Variety Thursday. “And then 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 the collection. 53% of the collection will always be owned by the Founders Art Club. So you can buy limited prints, but not the original artwork.”

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Anna Delvey’s “Allegedly” art show/VarietyVariety

Collectors from New York galleries like Swann Galleries and Contra Galleries were among the attendance Thursday, with several collectors interested in purchasing what Delvey had to say in her drawings.