Miami artist smashes $1 million Ai Weiwei vase as protest

Feb. 18, 2014 at 12:19 PM

MIAMI, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- An artist destroyed a $1 million vase by Ai Weiwei on display in the Perez Art Museum-Miami to draw attention to local artists, police said.

Maximo Caminero, a well-known local painter who has shown works at the Fountain Art Fair, faces felony mischief charges after destroying the vase Monday. Caminero said said his action was a display of support for local artists in Miami, the Miami New Times reported Tuesday.

"I did it for all the local artists in Miami that have never been shown in museums here," Caminero told the New Times. "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."

The police report indicated a Perez Art Museum-Miami security guard saw Caminero pick up the vase Monday, and she told him to put the artwork down, but instead Caminero "threw and broke the vase on the floor in protest."

Caminero then "spontaneously told [police] that he broke the vase in protest of local artists and that the museum only displayed international artists," the police report said.

Caminero told New Times he didn't know Weiwei's work was worth $1 million.

"I didn't know that it was that amount," he said. "I feel so sorry about it, for sure."

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