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Florida artist smashes Ai Weiwei vase worth $1 million in Miami museum in protest


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MIAMI - A South Florida artist is facing a criminal charge after police say he smashed a $1 million vase by a Chinese artist at Miami's new art museum to protest what he called its favouritism for international rather than local art.

Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief after Sunday's incident at the Perez Art Museum Miami. According to a Miami Police Department arrest affidavit, a security guard told officers that Caminero picked up a colored vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. When told to put it down, the security guard said, Caminero smashed it on the floor.

Caminero told officers he broke the vase to protest the museum's lack of local artist displays and because "the museum only displayed international artists' art," according to the affidavit.

Caminero, a painter who lives in Miami, declined comment when reached by telephone Monday. He said he will have an afternoon news conference Tuesday.

"I'm going to answer all the questions," he said.

The police affidavit lists the value of the vase as $1 million, quoting the museum's security officials. Criminal mischief can be a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison when the property damaged is worth more than $1,000.

"As an art museum dedicated to celebrating modern and contemporary artists from within our community and around the world, we have the highest respect for freedom of expression," the museum said in a statement released late Monday. "But this destructive act is vandalism and disrespectful to another artist and his work, to Pérez Art Museum Miami, and to our community."

Caminero had a recent showing at the JF Gallery in West Palm Beach that offered patrons a chance to meet him and "view a sampling of the work from his 30-year career as an artist."

According to the Perez Art Museum Miami's website, the vase is one of more than a dozen that are part of a floor installation. Each vase is partially painted in bright colours.

Behind the installation are a series of three black-and-white photos showing Ai holding a vase and then letting it drop to the ground, smashing into pieces.

The "Ai Weiwei: According to What?" exhibit runs through March 16 at the museum. Museum officials confirmed the incident in a Monday email, and noted that an upcoming show will feature a local artist, Miami's Edouard Duval-Carrié. The Haitian-born artist's show, beginning March 13, is titled "Imagined Landscapes."

A sculptor, designer and documentary maker, Ai has irked Beijing by using his art and online profile to draw attention to injustices in China and the need for greater transparency and rule of law. He was detained for 81 days in 2011 during a crackdown on dissent.

After his release in June 2011, Ai's design firm was slapped with a $2.4 million tax bill, which he fought unsuccessfully in the Chinese courts

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At least it's ancient art. The 'art' nowadays is stupid and overpriced. People draw a line and it's worth $5 mill...give me a break lol.

i love critics of modern art

person a: "i could have done that!" + person b: "yeah but you didn't" + (silence from person a) = modern art

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lol watch the vid again and listen closely at the end when the male newscaster says 'don't touch.' Can't get anymore English than that.

The whole thing looks like a hoax.

If it was a hoax the police would not have charged him:

Dominican-born Maximo Caminero, 51, was arrested and charged on Sunday with criminal mischief after picking up one of the 16 brightly painted vases at the Perez Art Museum Miami and throwing it to the ground when confronted by security, according to a police report

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I could make a vase just as good as that for like $100. They should just pay me to replace it and buddy should be left alone he was just pushing the envelope and doing something cool. Obviously the art gallery can afford to replace it.


Waiting for someone to come in here and say who cares, they should let him go. There is no way the vase is worth a million. The museum can afford it anyways, they make tonnes of money.


They should let him go. There is no way the vase is worth a million. The museum can afford it anyways, they make tonnes of money

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