June 29, 2017
Stabbing Mistaken For Art At Art Basel Miami Beach

A stabbing was mistaken for performance art at Art Basel on Friday night.

The incident took place inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, the site for the main event, on Friday among unsuspecting patrons. According to People Magazine, reported via MSN, the stabbing was an isolated incident that occurred in a corridor near an art installation entitled, "The Swamp of Sagittarius," by Miami artist Naomi Fisher and partner Agatha Wara.

"At 5:20 p.m. a visitor was assaulted by another visitor in the Nova sector of the fair," Sara Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Art Basel, said in a written statement. "The attack was an isolated incident that was immediately secured. The victim was taken directly to the hospital and according to the Miami Beach Police Department the victim's injuries are non-life threatening. Our thoughts are with the victim."

Miami Beach police spokeswoman Det. Kathleen Prieto said the stabbing, which was mistaken as performance art by many of the patrons attending the art show, was the result of an argument that escalated between two women. During their scuffle, one woman pulled out an X-Acto knife and stabbed the other woman in the arms and neck, the Miami Herald reported. The victim was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Prieto said her injuries were non life threatening. The assailant, who has not yet been identified by the police, was arrested at the scene.

"The suspect was apprehended by police who were at the scene within seconds of the incident," the statement continued. "The extensive security provided by the Miami Beach Convention Center is supporting the investigation."

Both the victim and the assailant were patrons of the art show, not exhibitors. When the stabbing occurred, onlookers thought they were witnessing performance art, and thought the police tape was marking off an area of the convention center as part of an art installation. Fisher said she heard the two women arguing just before 5:30 p.m. and then saw one of them being transported out of the building on a stretcher by the paramedics. Rudy Perez, a fellow artist, showed Fisher a picture he had snapped on his cellphone of a woman wearing a white shirt, covered in blood.

"A guy walked up to me and said, 'I thought I saw a performance, and I thought it was fake blood, but it was real blood,'" Fisher recalled. "It's horrible … I'm so freaked out. I feel nauseous."

The four-day art fair closes on Sunday. Earlier this week, the police and Art Basel officials announced that they had increased security in and around the convention center. They made the decision following the terrorist attacks in Paris. After the stabbing, the event organizers and security guards worked quickly to clean up the mess. When asked what had happened, patrons were originally told that a very large statue had fallen on the woman. They were later informed of what had actually taken place, and were obviously shocked.

"I thought a piece of art fell on her," Gregg Hill, a sculptor from New York, said. "I never would have thought there would be a stabbing at Art Basel. …People didn't really know what had happened. It was calm and everyone was milling around and talking."

"It's a very strange place for something like this to happen," said Amanda DeSeta, of Coconut Grove, after she walked near the crime scene.

"It makes me very nervous," added Sune Smith, also of Coconut Grove.

Among those in attendance were celebrities Katie Holmes and Kylie Jenner. Just like everyone else, they did not realize a stabbing had taken place.

[Photo by Lynne Sladky/Associated Press]