In this undated photo made available by the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Cruel irony: Chinese dissident artist upset vase destroyed

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who helped make his name smashing a valuable vase in the name of art, said Wednesday that he was miffed about another artist destroying one of his vases in Florida.

BEIJING — Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who helped make his name smashing a valuable vase in the name of art, said Wednesday that he was miffed about another artist destroying one of his vases in Florida.

Maximo Caminero was charged with criminal mischief after destroying a vase valued at $1 million that was part of Ai’s exhibit at the Perez Art Museum Miami. The Florida artist said he smashed the vase Sunday to protest the institution’s lack of displays of local artists.

Ai said Wednesday that he did not agree with Caminero’s tactic.

“Damaging other people’s property or disturbing a public program doesn’t really support his cause,” Ai said in an interview in Beijing.

The urn, dating back about 2,000 years to China’s Han Dynasty, was one of 16 on display that Ai had dipped in bright industrial paint, making them look like much more recently produced pots. The installation aims to “trigger questions about authenticity and the value and meaning of original artwork,” according to the museum’s website.

On a wall behind the vases are a series of large photographs of Ai dropping a Han Dynasty ceramic urn that smashed on the floor at his feet, one of his best-known works.

Against this backdrop, Caminero picked up one of the vases from the floor and, when told to put it down, smashed it on the floor, according to a police affidavit citing a security guard. Caminero told officers he broke the vase to protest the museum’s lack of local works, according to the affidavit.

The Miami New Times quoted Caminero as saying it was a spontaneous protest after seeing the photos of Ai breaking the ancient Chinese vase. “I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest,” he said.

Ai said the artist’s apparent inspiration was “misleading.”

“You cannot stand in front of a classical painting and kill somebody and say that you are inspired by” the artist, Ai said, adding that “this doesn’t make any sense.”

Caminero apologized Tuesday to The Miami Herald, saying he had no right to destroy someone else’s art. He cancelled a planned news conference and did not respond to telephone messages left by The Associated Press. A note on his studio door said his lawyer advised against commenting.

Ai said he thought the value of $1 million mentioned on the Florida police affidavit was “exaggerated.” He said that he wasn’t involved with the insurance details, but that he thought the figure was “a very ridiculous number.”

Just Posted

Central Alberta experiencing a growing cockroach problem

Travellers unwittingly bringing back pests from their trips

B.C. government moves to tax and restrict vaping products to protect youth

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government introduced a 10-point plan Thursday to… Continue reading

Tax hike upsets pot growers

Tax changes could hurt a thriving industry: canola producers

PBO forecasts slower growth and deeper federal deficits

OTTAWA — Parliament’s budget watchdog warns that rougher economic waters will mean… Continue reading

NDP has more leverage with Libs because the Bloc not a national party: Singh

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes Prime Minister Justin… Continue reading

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to fire Don Cherry?

Do you agree with the decision to fire Don Cherry for his… Continue reading

Browns keeps playoff hopes alive with win against Steelers ending in ugly brawl

Browns 21 Steelers 7 CLEVELAND —With their backs against the wall, the… Continue reading

B.C. government moves to tax and restrict vaping products to protect youth

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government introduced a 10-point plan Thursday to… Continue reading

Local Sports: RDC’s Regan Doig has plenty of hockey left to play

There was a point during the summer when Regan Doig felt his… Continue reading

PBO forecasts slower growth and deeper federal deficits

OTTAWA — Parliament’s budget watchdog warns that rougher economic waters will mean… Continue reading

NDP has more leverage with Libs because the Bloc not a national party: Singh

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes Prime Minister Justin… Continue reading

Alberta Opposition asks auditor general to review Kenney adviser’s London trips

EDMONTON — The Opposition in Alberta is demanding multiple spending investigations, including… Continue reading

Most Read