$1M Ai Weiwei Vase Smashed By Protester

Miami artist Maximo Caminero says he smashed the vase in protest over the museum's decision to display only work by international artists.
Posted at 8:00 AM, Feb 18, 2014

A Florida man has been charged with criminal mischief after smashing a vase at a Miami museum — little did he know it was a vase worth $1 million by China's most famous artist, Ai Weiwei. 

Fifty-one-year-old Maximo Caminero says he smashed the vase in protest over Pérez Art Museum Miami’s decision to only display international works of art. (Via WSVN

Caminero told the Miami New Times: "I did it for all the local artists in Miami that have never been shown in museums here ... They have spent so many millions now on international artists.”

Citing a police report, the Miami Herald reports a security guard saw Caminero with the vase and asked him to put it down. “Instead, he tossed it down.”

Caminero told the Miami New Times he had no idea the vase was worth $1 million, and said it looked like something you could find at Home Depot. 

Hardly the case. The smashed vase was one of 16 painted urns — each about 2,000 years old. They're on display as part of an Ai  Weiwei exhibit that runs through March. (Via WTVJ)

Ai, of course, is not only an artist but a political activist. He’s been openly critical of the China’s Communist government, and has used his artwork to highlight human rights injustices. (Via CBC)

But he told The Wall Street Journal, he saw no the parallel between Caminero’s form of protest and his own. “It’s very different … What I destroyed didn’t belong to anybody else.”

Caminero was charged with criminal mischief which is punishable by up to five years in prison.