Lifestyle & Belief

An artist smashed an ancient vase worth $1 million in a very expensive protest (VIDEO)


Museum patrons stand next to an exhibit by artist Ai Weiwei called According To What? at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) on Feb. 18, 2014. Maximo Caminero faces charges after police say he smashed a $1-million vase in what appears to be a form of protest against a lack of local artists on display.


Joe Raedle

Excuse us, but sometimes we just don’t “get” art.

Here we have video of one artist — as a protest — smashing a priceless vase created by another artist as a protest piece. So it was created as a protest, and destroyed as a protest. … Yeah, don’t get it.

Maximo Caminero is facing vandalism charges after picking up a $1-million ancient vase inside a Miami art gallery and letting it smash on the floor Sunday.

The destroyed vase — part of an installment called Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn — belongs to renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

What really baffles us is this: He dropped the vase as a show of solidarity. Caminero, 51, is a painter of some local prominence.

“It was a spontaneous protest,” Caminero told the Miami New Times. “I was at [Pérez Art Museum Miami] and saw Ai Weiwei’s photos behind the vases where he drops an ancient Chinese vase and breaks it. And I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest.”

Regrettably for Caminero, the vase was actually an ancient relic.

He told the New Times the pot looked like anything you might find “at Home Depot, frankly.”

Guess he doesn’t think much of ancient Chinese potters, either, or he has a very high opinion of Home Depot.

Caminero also claimed smashing the vase was a complaint against Miami galleries who don’t exhibit local artists.

This gets really complicated when you realize you cannot view Ai’s artwork in his local gallery.

He often runs afoul of Chinese authorities, meaning galleries like PAMM in Florida are usually the only places anyone sees his art.

“I still don’t have a chance to show my work in China or Beijing,” Ai told BBC. “I never even think of going to a museum in Beijing to protest. If I [did], I would be punished.”