September 18, 2014
Florida artist smashes US$1M vase
A Florida artist is facing a criminal charge after police say he smashed a US$1-million vase at Miami’s new art museum in what appears to be a form of protest.
Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief after the 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 coloured vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. When told to put it down, the security guard said Caminero smashed it on the floor.
A police affidavit says Caminero told officers he broke the vase to protest the museum’s lack of local artist displays. Caminero, a painter who lives in Miami, declined comment yesterday.He said he will have an afternoon news conference today. 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.
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 crackdown on dissent.