Ai Weiwei criticizes artist for smashing $1 million vase at Miami museum

By Daniel S Levine,

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei said that he does not support Maximo Caminero, an American artist who smashed a vase on display in a Miami museum’s exhibition of Ai’s art.

Caminero was charged with criminal mischief for breaking a vase valued at $1 million that was part of the new Perez Art Museum’s “Ai Weiwei: According To What?” exhibit. It included Ai’s “Colored Vases,” which are centuries-old Chinese vases Ai has splashed paint on. The particular vase Caminero broke was a 2,000-year-old urn from the Han Dynasty.

Caminero said he was protesting the Perez Art Museum’s decision to only show international artists, rather than focusing on local art. In an interview with the Associated Press, Ai said that he disagreed with how Caminero tired to make a point.

“Damaging other people's property or disturbing a public program doesn't really support his cause,” Ai said.

Ai himself famously broke Chinese vases in protest and Caminero said he was inspired by photos of Ai. “You cannot stand in front of a classical painting and kill somebody and say that you are inspired by” an artist, Ai told the AP. “This doesn't make any sense.”

While Ai doesn’t support what Caminero did, local Miami artists told the Miami New Times that they do agree with what he stands for.

“I think it's the most courageous act ever undertaken by a Miami artist,” Sergio Garcia told the paper. “I commend Maximo Caminero totally for his actions and think he has helped squarely focus attention from the international community on the plight of local artists.”

Ai also told the AP that he didn’t agree with Florida police valuing the urn at $1 million. He thinks it’s “a very ridiculous number.”

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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