Maybe Kalan Sherrard confused Art Basel with the Exxxotica Adult Expo.
On Sunday, inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, police said Sherrard joined about 30 people protesting the wealthy. They say he tried fighting off officers who were herding him out of the building, then reached his right hand into his pants and pulled out something unexpected.
“The unknown item was discovered to be a prosthetic penis sex toy,” wrote Miami Beach Police Officer Alex Delgado. “The item was impounded.”
Sherrard, an activist who also happens to be a well-known New York City street performer, was arrested, charged with disturbing the peace and resisting an officer without violence.
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Beach police, it seems, didn’t appreciate his particular act. In an interview with The Herald on Monday, he said officers apparently mistook “a prosthetic packing penis for a handgun.”
Informed that their activist was also an artist featured in a New York magazine article in April, one Miami Beach police officer sighed, “Only us.”
Still, police were baffled when asked what artistic statement Sherrard might have been making by wielding a dildo. It might have been more expected at the Exxxotica sex expo, which for years was also held at the convention center.
“It’s like the chicken crossing the road question,” said Detective Vivian Thayer .
Sherrard, according to the New York magazine in April, also was arrested earlier this year during a “peaceful anarchist puppet show” that he performed in New York subways.
He told the magazine he performed because, “I think it has to do with being really bored of the world, sort of — both really bored and really interested.”
Sherrard, who contacted the Miami Herald after a story was posted online about his arrest, didn’t get into why he was packing a fake penis for his Basel appearance. But he did say that when he and a companion initially tried to enter the convention center on Sunday, they were told by security officers that they were dressed “too artistically.”
So they spent the next hour wandering around outside the fair asking visitors for clothes, Sherrard said. After “a very basic anti-world rant,” Sherrard said they were accosted by security and police.
Also busted on the same charges was Maria Valenzuela, 20, who police said tried to jump on an officer dealing with Sherrard.
Sherrard said they were placed in small van for four hours, then transported to jail where they were released at 6 a.m. Monday after posting $1,500 each. On Monday night, Sherrard was scheduled to entertain visitors at a small art gallery in the north end of Little Haiti.
According to police, Sherrard and Valenzuela were part of a crowd of about three dozen who were demonstrating and wearing masks inside the center. They attracted the attention of security, including off-duty cops, who tried to escort them out of the building.
As Sherrard began walking away, the arrest affidavit says, he placed his right hand down his pants toward his privates.
“At this point, reserve officer Pedrosa observed an unknown object being retrieved,” Delgado wrote.
After Sherrard and Valenzuela were taken into custody, police said they continued to loudly protest.
“F--- Art Basel, F--- all you rich people,” police said the couple yelled.