“$1m” Ai Weiwei Vase Smashed in Miami Protest

At the Miami New Times, Michael E. Miller reports the destruction of a vase in an Ai Weiwei exhibition by local artist Maximo Caminero:

“I did it for all the local artists in Miami that have never been shown in museums here,” he says. “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.”

[…] “I didn’t know that it was [worth] that amount,” he says. “I feel so sorry about it, for sure.”

“It was a spontaneous protest,” he explains. “I was at PAMM 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.”

“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.” [Source]

[Update: The New York Times' Nick Madigan quotes Ai's reaction, and questions the million-dollar valuation:

“The argument does not support the act,” Mr. Ai said. “It doesn’t sound right. His argument doesn’t make much sense. If he really had a point, he should choose another way, because this will bring him trouble to destroy property that does not belong to him.”

[…] News reports here said the destroyed vase was worth $1 million, a figure the museum said was provided by police as an estimate based on previous appraisals of similar works by Mr. Ai. An official appraisal of the destroyed work’s value is underway, said Alina Sumajin, a spokeswoman for the museum.

A similar work, called a Group of 9 Coloured Vases, consisting of Neolithic vases painted by Mr. Ai in 2007, sold at Sotheby’s in London in 2012 for $156,325, a price that included buyer’s premium. [Source]]

Perez Art Museum, Miami, by Patrick Farrell for VISIT FLORIDA

Perez Art Museum, Miami, by Patrick Farrell for VISIT FLORIDA

In the 2012 documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Ai discusses his vases with Chris Dercon, then director of Munich’s Haus der Kunst:

Dercon: Ai Weiwei, is this a real neolithical vase, yes or no?

Ai: Yes.

Dercon: Ai Weiwei, did you paint yourself, or somebody else, the sign ‘Coca-Cola’ on this real neolithical vase?

Ai: I did

Dercon: Did you consider this as a destruction of a neolithical vase?

Ai: No.

Dercon: Did you consider this as a very important work of art?

Ai: No.

<audience laughter>

February 17, 2014 5:39 PM
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