Miami pastor Kevin Sutherland was arrested yesterday after forging several Damien Hirst spin and spot paintings that he tried to consign to Sotheby’s last month, the New York Times reports. The auction house rejected the works’ authenticity and notified the police. An officer then posed as a collector and offered to buy a set of them from Sutherland for $185,000. When the deal was set to go down at the Gramercy Park Hotel, police charged him with second-degree grand larceny.
Apparently the signature on the certificate of authenticity did not match Hirst’s, “among other problems.” Sutherland’s attorney says he plans to fight the charges, and that apart from running his church, his client is legitimately employed in real estate and as a private art dealer.
— Rachel Corbett
(Photo: a Damien Hirst spin painting)