Popular late-night South Beach spot Purdy Lounge has a new interior design -- one that not even the bar's owner knew was coming.
Last night a troublemaking artist hid in a bathroom until the lounge closed at 5 a.m. and then spent several hours painting enormous murals that now cover two of the bar's walls.
"It's an Art Basel terrorist artist," says the bar's general manager, Aron Epstein. "[But] he was meticulous. It's not like he was trying to ruin anything."
The whole caper was caught on Purdy's video surveillance, Epstein says.
In the video, the mysterious artist is seen scurrying back into the bathroom later this morning when a cleaner enters the building. After the cleaner leaves, Epstein says, the artist re-emerges to finish the work, only to be caught by another manager entering the bar.
At that point, Epstein says, the artist "drops my name and drops one of our promoters' names and says that we had commissioned it... We hadn't."
Courtesy of Aron Epstein
Epstein says he then awoke to numerous missed calls from the bar's confused owner, who was asking if he had in fact commissioned any art projects.
Now Epstein says the bar is considering what to do about its walls and might just leave the paint the way it is, at least through Art Week.
"We're kind of torn," he says. "On the one hand you want to be angry, and by the same token we're like, 'This is pretty crazy. It's pretty cool.'"
Update: As many commenters have noted, staging a "guerrilla" graffiti attack would hardly be the craziest stunt pulled during Art Basel. Is this tale of overnight wall defacement just a Purdy PR move?
"One thousand percent not true," Epstein says of suggestions that the art attack was staged. "That's just impossible."
Epstein says he's working on downloading the surveillance video showing the tagger at work overnight. If possible, he'll post it in full on the web. We'll update this post with the footage if and when it's available.
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If anyone knows who did the tagging, we'd love to hear their piece of the tale as well. Email us here with any info.