Twenty-four-year-old Siyuan Zhao, the Chinese national who allegedly stabbed a stranger in the neck and shoulder inside Art Basel Miami on Friday night—prompting many attendees to wonder if the blood and caution tape were part of an art installation—is a recent NYC transplant with aspirations to become an architect.
— clnyule26 (@clnyule26) December 6, 2015
According to the Miami Herald, Zhaou was inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel's main exhibition space, when she stabbed a 33-year-old woman in the neck and left shoulder with an X-Acto knife. The assailant and victim later said that they didn't know each other; Young was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The victim later later told authorities that she had "confronted" Zhaou after the young woman "purposefully and continuously" followed her around the exhibit—"The Swamp of Sagittarius" by artists Naomi Fisher and Agatha Wara.
Zhaou's affidavit was more colorful: "I had to kill her and two more,” she said. "I had to watch her bleed." She's since been charged with attempted murder, and is being held on $25,000 bail.
Zhaou had recently finished a five-year architecture program at the University of Oregon, and was starting to think about applying to graduate school, according to Page Six. Friends described her as "understanding."
Her alleged attack last Friday seemed to many attendees, at first, artistic.
"A guy walked up to me and said, 'I thought I saw a performance, and I thought it was fake blood, but it was real blood,'" Fisher told the Herald.
Another witness, New York sculptor Gregg Hill, told the Post, "I thought a piece of art fell on her. I never would have thought there would be a stabbing at Art Basel."
"The attack was an isolated incident that was immediately secured," Art Basel spokeswoman Sara Fitzmaurice said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the victim."