Pink Snails Bullied in Miami Beach

Giant artwork vandalized, police investigate

By Brian Hamacher
|  Tuesday, Dec 7, 2010  |  Updated 7:45 AM EDT
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Pretty In Pink

The Art Deco Welcome Center celebrated the Pink Snails exhibit . Photos by Jipsy

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What's big, pink, and the object of unrelenting scorn throughout Miami Beach?

It's a group of giant plastic snails, which have been beaten, battered, spray painted, nearly drowned and all-around disrespected in the last month or so that they've been on display in the Magic City.

And now the Miami Beach Police Department is investigating the slimy crimes, according to the Miami Herald.

The 45 pink snails were installed in mid-November as sort-of public artwork for Art Basel, but Gloria Porcella, who owns Galleria Ca' d'Oro which is sponsoring the snails, said there's been little in the way of art appreciation.

"Every morning I wake up with a disaster," Porcella told the Herald. "I'm disappointed because everybody really loved the snails. We've received thousands of e-mails from people who say, ‘We want them permanently.' But there is somebody that is trying to destroy them every day."

The first move towards the Miami pink snails' extinction came on Dec. 2, when a permit to display four of them on the Venetian Causeway was revoked by Miami-Dade County officials.

A few days later, one of the snails was found punched, according to Porcella. This past weekend, a group of snails on Dade Boulevard were upended, two others sprayed with graffiti.

Another snail was tossed into the water of Biscayne Bay in Maurice Gibb Memorial Park.

The snails haven't been the only artistic casualty during Art Basel. A group of taggers vandalized a Wynwood mural last week, spray painting "F**k Basel" on a work by local artist Gerry Stecca.

Porcella said the snails have been on display in Rome and Paris without the levels of vandalism she's seen in Miami Beach, and hopes there'll be no more incidents before the snails come down on Jan. 3.

"I hope tomorrow morning I won't wake up with more surprises," she said.

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