The Miami Herald is reporting that artist Scott Scheidly‘s portrait of Hillary Clinton as a pink-haired punk caused a full-fledged security investigation at Art Basel this weekend when two security dogs “reacted suspiciously” to a crate containing the work of art.
Fair director Nick Korniloff said that the two dogs reacted to the crate during a pre-show check shortly after 8 a.m., prompting organizers to clear the site. Both the Art Miami tent and a tent for Context, connected by a tunnel, were closed off. The package was then searched and the painting of the former Democratic presidential candidate was found inside.
“We had to err on the side of caution,” Korniloff said. Both tents eventually reopened around 10 a.m.
The painting— entitled “Punk Hillary” — had been shipped with a similar portrait of President Donald Trump (called “Trump Pimp”), featuring the prez in a zebra hat with a gold dollar-sign chain around his neck. The Trump portrait had already been removed from the crate before the security check.
Both artworks, done by Orlando-based artist Scott Scheidly, were listed at $4,000 each and sold to a single collector. They are part of a series by Scheidly, who has painted satirical portraits of roughly 50 politicians and pop culture figures, including former President Barack Obama, Adolf Hitler and Queen Elizabeth II.
The false alarm delayed the opening of the tent located at One Herald Plaza for dozens of people, including event staff and attendees. After police blocked off a section of Biscayne Boulevard with their cruisers and caution tape, many lingering outside were blocked from entering the area.
After the delay Saturday morning, both paintings were hung side-by-side in the Context tent, in a booth for a gallery called Spoke Art based in both New York and San Francisco.
When asked why he thought the dogs reacted to the painting, gallery owner Ken Hashimoto shrugged and said:
“[The police] have no idea,” he said. “My thought is a Republican bomb dog.”