A Romero Britto beach ball sculpture outside the Miami Shores Country Club was vandalized for a second time on Saturday. In June, an anonymous tagger spray-painted the words "Not Art" on the polka-dotted and striped ball. The paint was promptly removed, but the controversy surrounding the Brazilian artist's monopoly on Miami's public art sustained.
On Saturday, Miamism blogged that the beach ball was tagged again, this time with the words "meaningless bliss" and "error."
The latest tag appears more stylized than the first, and the choice of words more indirect. Is this the work of the same tagger? Or is the sculpture, which is highly visible from Biscayne Boulevard, simply an easy target?
A few blocks north on Biscayne, you'll likely encounter unmarked vans selling rip-off Britto art work. The man is popular enough to inspire knock-offs and fill a storefront gallery on Lincoln Road, but a lot of Miami is furiously against Britto as the unofficial art laureate of Miami. His geometric splats and smiling cats are about as characteristic of our city as the nickname Magic City.
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And so the debate continues: Is it vandalism to alter public sculptures that have been forced so relentlessly on our cityscape? Considering the level of vitriol surrounding Britto's omnipresence in our city, these Miami Shores taggings almost seem tame. After all, just last year, a group threatened to chug gallons of milk and barf-bomb the city's Britto public art sculptures.
And as far as the choice of words, we get the "error" part and the "meaningless." But we're still looking out for the "bliss."