Entertainment News

  • 19 February 2014, 17:35

New Video Shows Moment $1m Vase Is Smashed

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has criticised the artist for destroying one of his vases on display in a museum in Florida.

Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief and faces up to five years in prison following Sunday's destruction of the artwork valued at $1m (600,000), on show at the Perez Art Museum in Miami.

The Florida artist said he had smashed the vase to protest at the institution's lack of displays of local work.

Caminero had been quoted as saying it was a spontaneous protest after seeing the photos of Ai breaking an ancient Chinese vase.

"I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest," he said.

But Ai was not impressed with his argument.

In an interview in Beijing, the Chinese artist said: "Damaging other people's property or disturbing a public programme doesn't really support his cause."

He described the artist's apparent inspiration as "misleading".

"You cannot stand in front of a classical painting and kill somebody and say that you are inspired by the artist - this doesn't make any sense."

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 aimed 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.

Caminero has apologised for his act, saying he had no right to destroy someone else's art, later cancelling a planned news conference on the advice of his lawyer.

Commenting on the value of the artwork, Ai Weiwei expressed surprise at the $1m valuation put on the piece saying he thought it was "exaggerated".

He pointed out that he was not involved with the insurance details, but said he thought the figure was "a very ridiculous number".

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