Ai Weiwei, the original dropper of priceless vases, is now on the receiving end; a Florida man is facing charges and fines after a scuffle in a Miami art museum that peaked when he smashed one of Ai’s painted vases on the floor.
It’s hard to tell what the man, 51-year-old Maximo Caminero, thought he was doing. The Associated Press has described Caminero as an “artist” and it, maybe, would follow that smashing one of Ai Weiwei’s pieces is some kind of edgy “statement.”
It’s also more than possible that the man simply doesn’t like Chinese art, as the AP article notes:
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 when reached by telephone Monday.
The vase is apparently valued at US$1 million, which may be a bit more than Caminero can cough up at the moment, as the Miami New Times reports:
“I didn’t know that it was [worth] that amount,” he says. “I feel so sorry about it, for sure.” […]
“If you saw the vases on display and the way they were painted there was no way one would think the artist had painted over an ancient artifact,” Caminero says. “Instead I thought it was a common clay pot like you would find at Home Depot, frankly.”
Caminero severely misjudged either 1) the abundance of Han-dynasty urns at Home Depot 2) Ai Weiwei’s willingness to coat anything in paint. Either way, his anti-foreign protest has drawn the world’s attention to the world of oppressed local Miami artists.