Knife attack confused for performance art at Art Basel Miami Beach

A view of Freedman Fitzpatrick Gallery a day after the stabbing took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Story highlights

  • A woman was stabbed in the arms and neck at Art Basel in Miami Beach
  • Onlookers were unsure whether the incident was part of the exhibition

(CNN)A bloody crime or performance art?

That's what visitors to Art Basel in Miami Beach were left wondering after an altercation between two women attending the art fair turned violent.
    A woman was stabbed after accusing her attacker of following her around the art fair and bumping into her repeatedly, local media reported. CNN affiliate WSVN said police had named the attacker as 24-year-old Siyuan Zhao.
    Zhao stabbed the victim in the neck with a craft knife, WSVN reported.
    "I had to kill her and two more," and "I had to watch her bleed!" Zhao said, according to her arrest report.
    An Art Basel spokesperson said that victim's injuries were not life threatening and the suspect was apprehended by police at the scene within seconds of the incident.

    Knife imitating art?

    The violence unfolded near an exhibit by artist Naomi Fisher, who told the Miami Herald that one witness assumed the blood was fake.
    New York-based sculptor Gregg Hill also told the paper that he saw the victim being wheeled out but never suspected a genuine crime had occurred.
    "People didn't really know what had happened. It was calm and everyone was milling around and talking," he said.
    Other patrons were observed wandering around sipping champagne, under the impression that police tape cordoning off parts of the convention center was part of an installation.
    "The attack was an isolated incident that was immediately secured," said Art Basel's Sara Fitzmaurice.
    "Our thoughts are with the victim."
    The Miami Beach Police Department didn't immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
    The 24-year-old college student has been charged with attempted felony murder, WSVN reported.