Art Basel

Art Basel: Two taggers arrested at Wynwood art fair

Two men were arrested Friday afternoon at Wynwood art fair for tagging this building near Northwest 29th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Two men were arrested Friday afternoon at Wynwood art fair for tagging this building near Northwest 29th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Two taggers who thought the area outside a Wynwood art fair would be a safe space to spray graffiti were instead arrested by Miami police Friday afternoon.

The men looked like young teens but turned out to be in their mid-20s, according to witnesses at Conception Art Fair. They were tagging a building near Northwest 29th Street and Fifth Avenue, where several other street artists were also working, around 1 p.m..

"I was sweeping our courtyard and all the sudden these two kids came running around the corner into our garage," said Jennifer Blum, one of the fair's co-founders. "Then this cop came around and was like, 'Where did they go?' And I said, "Who?" But he found them and then there were five more cops and a helicopter and then they cuffed them and put them in the back of a car."

The duo were later released after promising to paint over the art, Blum said.

She then put one of the men, who had stayed in the area, on the phone with a reporter.

Identifying himself only as Swine, a graffiti artist from the Boston area, the man said he and his friend had a miscommunication with the owner of the building, which they thought they had permission to paint on.

"It was just a misunderstanding with the owner," the man said. "They're not pressing charges."

Miami Police said it had no information on the arrests.

But for Mary Mihelic, a Brooklyn-based artist showing her work at the fair, the incident said a lot about Art Week in Miami.

"Here we are at Basel celebrating every kind of art and then you have some kids making their own statement and they get arrested," Mihelic said. "It really makes you think Basel is all about the rich."

NICHOLAS NEHAMAS

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