Riviera South Beach "Embarrassed" by Fake Banksy Scandal, Now Advertises Gallery of Banksy Prints

Categories: Art, News

riviera_hotel_miami_banksy_prints_new.jpeg
Courtesy Riviera South Beach.
If you're going to promote your hotel using the name of the world's most famous street artist, you'd better be sure you've got your facts straight. That's the lesson the South Beach Group learned last month when it claimed that it had commissioned British graffiti artist Banksy to design tiles in public spaces of its new hotel, the Riviera South Beach. New Times exposed the tiles as fakes, sold by a Spanish tile company under the name "Bansky."

But the hotel is seemingly determined to hold onto that buzzworthy Banksy selling point. South Beach Group announced yesterday that, in an attempt to make amends for the fake Banksy incident, the Riviera South Beach has purchased a collection of "authentic" Banksy prints, now on display at the hotel.

See also: Banksy Agent: Riviera South Beach Hotel Tiles Are "Fake and Not by the Artist Banksy"

"When we purchased the tiles two years ago, they were totally misrepresented to us as genuine Banksy designs," hotelier Alan Lieberman said in a statement. "We had no idea we had been cheated until a savvy Miami New Times reader brought it to our attention."

That's a rather simplified version of the events; New Times reporters spent several days in back-and-forth phone calls and emails with hotel representatives and with Lieberman himself, attempting to verify their claims. The hotel's original press release announcing the Banksy tiles claimed that the Riviera had commissioned the artist to create the tiles; a hotel representative claimed that Lieberman had a connection to the artist himself. Gradually, Lieberman and others at the hotel backed away from that claim, arguing instead that the tiles were still Banksy designs, commissioned for Spanish tile company Peronda. But Peronda denied any connection to Banksy at all.

See also: Banksy in Miami: New South Beach Hotel Claims It Commissioned The Artist To Create Bathroom Tiles

In the meantime, incorrect reports of a Riviera-Banksy connection flooded the hotel world, from trade publications like HotelChatter to Conde Nast Traveler.

Now, Lieberman claims he was duped.

"Of course we were embarrassed and humbled by the revelation," his statement continues. "Our new authentic Banksy collection at the Riviera is our token way of both apologizing if we appeared to misrepresent our brand, and creating a genuine Banksy experience for our guests on site at our first luxury property."

So how does the hotel know its new prints are authentic? Neither Lieberman nor the hotel's director of marketing and communications Hannah Litman responded to our requests for more information about the prints. We'll update this post with more details as they become available.

For now, though, it looks like you'll just have to take their word for it.

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

Send your story tips to Cultist at cultist@miaminewtimes.com.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

Location Info

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Riviera South Beach Hotel

2000 Liberty Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

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9 comments
Sergio Bocanegra
Sergio Bocanegra

This describes the Miami life sytle... phony !!!! sad but true...

fruitybebbles
fruitybebbles

South Beach group is a bunch of scumbags. This doesn't surprise me. I used to live in a building they purchased and they kicked out all the tenants illegally so they could flip the building into a hotel where they showcase fake art. 

Their tactics for getting all the tenants out were underhanded. I think the New Times should do a little investigation/expose on this crooked company. 

fruitybebbles
fruitybebbles

South Beach Group is a bunch of scumbags. They purchase old apt buildings, kick all the tenants out illegally and then make crappy hotels that they can showcase fake art in. 

booboohead
booboohead

Why is this guy pushing for a Banksy themed hotel, anyway? Move on. Jump on some other artist's bandwagon. The hotel would gain more traction and attention spotlighting a worthy local artist.

WhyNotNow
WhyNotNow topcommenter

Who the fuck cares?

Jhon A Cornejo
Jhon A Cornejo

OMG! What an embarrassment and insult to Banksy and the City of New Orleans. I was stationed in New Orleans and lived in the French Quarter for 6 years after Hurricane Katrina, and I lived a block away from the original stencil of the girl with an umbrella at the corner of North Rampart and Kerlerec. I hope the Riviera South Beach does right and gets some authentic Banksy prints.

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

Embarrassed?... Serves you right for not knowing your art.

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