A Florida artist made a statement on Monday, by smashing the work of a fellow artist in a Miami gallery. The offending artist, Maximo Caminero, 51, picked up a $1 million vase by famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and proceeded to smash it onto the floor.
He surrendered immediately to security guards and explained that he smashed the vase in protest of the lack of local artists that have been featured at the Perez Art Museum Miami.
"I did it for all the local artists in Miami that have never been shown in museums here," he says. "They have spent so many millions now on international artists. It's the same political situation over and over again. I've been here for 30 years and it's always the same."
However, after finding out the value of the vase, Caminero has a few regrets. He told the Miami New Times,
"I didn't know that it was that amount," he says. "I feel so sorry about it, for sure."
"It was a spontaneous protest. I was at PAMM and saw Ai Weiwei's photos behind the vases where he drops an ancient Chinese vase and breaks it. And I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest."
Sounds rational. Kind of. As for his reasoning, he said that he will answer all questions at a news conference on Tuesday, but did have this to say,
"I wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are many foreign artists like myself and others who have been here thirty years and have never received attention or support from MAM or now PAMM and other local museums," Caminero said. "We are all taxpayers here and PAMM used $200 million of public money on its building and opened with Weiwei's work to draw attention to itself and as always continues to ignore local artists."
He also appeared to kind of insult the artist Weiwei, saying that if you were to see the vases, you would think it "was a common clay pot like you would find at Home Depot."
Ai Weiwei is known for his political stance almost as much as for his artwork. He has used his fame and publicity to help shed light on social injustices and corruption in the Chinese government. He was imprisoned for 81 days in 2011 in a crackdown on dissent, then was subsequently hit with a hefty $2.4 million tax bill, according to Yahoo.
Caminero did say, "I admire Ai Weiwei greatly and have always supported his actions while he was suffering indignities from the Chinese government."
Hopefully this dispute between artists can be cleared up without getting ugly.
Caminero faces charges of a possible third degree felony because the damage is more than $1,000. A third degree felony could hold a punishment of up to 5 years in prison.
Image via Wikimedia Commons