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Artist apologizes for smashing Weiwei vase


Chinese vase from exhibit shattered

MIAMI – A day after the art world reacted in shock to a South Florida artist’s act of protest at the Perez Art Museum Miami, Maximo Caminero is apologizing to Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei for smashing one of his vases.

The value of the green vase, one of 16 on display at the “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” exhibit, is still being determined, though police placed a $1 million value on it in order to process the criminal charge.

“I have not the right to break his piece. I feel sorry for that,” Caminero, 51, said Tuesday. “I’d like to apologize for all the inconvenience I caused Mr. Weiwei. I have no right to break the piece of someone else.”

For its part, the museum remained open Tuesday - with extra security around the exhibition.

“The bottom line is this was an act of vandalism and it’s disparagable and terrible,” said Leann Standish, PAMM’s deputy director for external affairs.

On Sunday, Caminero visited the museum and its politically charged showcase into Chinese culture and history.

The show includes a collection of vases, dipped by the artist in paint, that Ai has represented as from the Han Dynasty. That would make them more than 2,000 years old. Another component of the exhibit features a series of three black-and-white photos of the artist, in protest mode, as he holds a Chinese vase and lets it smash to the ground.

According to the police report, Caminero picked up one of the vases and refused a security staffer’s order to put the piece down. Instead Caminero broke the vase on the floor. He told the arresting officer that he smashed the artwork in protest on behalf of local artists who he felt were slighted in favor of international artists at the new $131 million complex on Biscayne Bay. He was charged with criminal mischief and is out of jail on bond.


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