Fight leads to stabbing at Art Basel Miami Beach, police say – Miami Herald

A section of Art Basel Miami Beach was transformed into a crime scene after a fight between two women escalated to a stabbing at the show’s main event inside the Miami Beach Convention Center on Friday night, police said.

Det. Kathleen Prieto, assistant public information officer for the Miami Beach Police Department, said one woman pulled an X-Acto knife and stabbed the other in the arms and neck.

“The injuries are non life-threatening,” Prieto said. The victim was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. The alleged assailant was arrested at the scene.

Both women were patrons of the art show, and not exhibitors. But the incident caused some confusion among those attending the show on Friday.

Some patrons thought the stabbing was a performance art presentation. Others believed the police tape cordoning an area of the convention center was part of an art installation.

The injuries are non life-threatening.

Det. Kathleen Prieto, Miami Beach Police Department

The stabbing occurred in a corridor near an art installation titled “The Swamp of Sagittarius,” by Miami artist Naomi Fisher.

Fisher said she was at her exhibit when she heard a scuffle and later saw a woman being wheeled away by paramedics at about 5:30 p.m.

“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 said.

She added that another artist named Rudy Perez showed her a photo that he snapped on his cell phone of the incident, showing a woman dressed in white with blood stains on her clothes.

Fisher said the stabbing took place in front of booth N29, which is occupied by Freedman Fitzpatrick Gallery from Los Angeles. Police cordoned an area near the Washington Avenue entrance to the convention center, in a section of the show called NOVA designed to promote young artists.

“It’s horrible … I’m so freaked out,” Fisher said. “I feel nauseous.”

Art gallery representatives who witnessed the incident declined to give their names but said they saw a woman with what appeared to be a pen in her neck. One gallerist in the area said she heard a scream and ran over and saw a young woman lying on the ground bleeding from her neck.

It’s horrible … I feel nauseous.

Naomi Fisher, Miami artist

Sara Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Art Basel, issued a written statement that read, in part, “The attack was an isolated incident that was immediately secured. The suspect was apprehended by police who were at the scene within seconds of the incident. … Our thoughts are with the victim.”

Police and Art Basel officials announced this week that, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, they had beefed up security in and around the convention center, and at other events during the four-day fair that closes Sunday.

Inside the convention center, security guards and event organizers worked to quickly clean up the scene, and to keep public attention focused on the art and not the stabbing.

One bystander said he asked a security guard what has happened, and he was told that a very expensive statue had fallen on someone.

Once patrons learned what had occurred, though, their reactions ranged from shocked to bewildered.

Our thoughts are with the victim.

Sara Fitzmaurice, Art Basel Miami Beach spokeswoman

Two Coconut Grove women sipping champagne walked up to the police cordon. When told by a reporter about the stabbing, they expressed shock.

“It’s a very strange place for something like this to happen,” said Amanda DeSeta.

“It makes me very nervous,” said Sune Smith.

Both women said their purses were searched at the entrance to the convention center show, but not thoroughly.

Gregg Hill, a sculptor visiting from New York, said he saw the victim being wheeled out on a gurney but never suspected she was the victim of a violent act.

“I thought a piece of art fell on her,” he 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.”

Miami Herald staff writers Jane Wooldridge, Andres Viglucci and Ricardo Mor contributed to this report.

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