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  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 7:42pm

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist and son of late poet Ai Qing, helped with the design of the "Birds Nest" Olympic stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is also involved with Human rights, and concerned with political corruption of mainland China.

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Ai Weiwei not amused by smashing of US$1m vase

Smashing a million-dollar vase in the name of art is justified ‘if you own the piece’, says Ai Weiwei

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 8:24pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 5:02am
 

Artist Ai Weiwei was apparently not amused after one of his vases valued at US$1 million was deliberately smashed at an art museum in Miami.

Ai, who was famously photographed breaking a Han dynasty urn earlier in his career, told the South China Morning Post smashing up a piece of art was acceptable, but only if you own it.

Watch: Ai Wei Wei's music video from his debut album: "Laoma Tihua"

A Florida artist, Maximo Caminero, 51, has been charged with criminal mischief after he broke the brightly coloured vase on display at the Perez Art Museum on Sunday.

Caminero said he was a fan of the Chinese artist and his actions had partly been inspired by his behaviour.

Ai produced Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn in 1995, a set of three photos of himself dispassionately smashing an antique about 2,000 years old, to demonstrate his sceptical attitude towards cultural values.

"I saw Ai Weiwei's photos behind the vases where he drops an ancient Chinese vase and breaks it," Caminero said. "I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest."

But Ai told the Post yesterday that Caminero's act was very different from his own.

"I smashed my own belongings whereas he broke others'. Behavioural art can go to extremes, like you can hurt yourself for instance, but you cannot hurt others for the sake of art, can you?"

Ai said he had no problem with Caminero calling his actions art, as long as "he could bear the legal consequences".

I smashed my own belongings whereas he broke others'. Behavioural art can go to extremes
Artist Ai Weiwei

Caminero told police his act was a performance protest against the Miami museum, which only displays works by international artists.

The broken piece is one of 16 called Coloured Vases displayed at Ai's exhibition "According to What?", which opened last year.

Ai covered the vases with brightly coloured paints and a similar work fetched over US$156,000 at auction in London two years ago.

Caminero insisted that he was unaware he was destroying a valuable artwork during his protest.

"I didn't know that it was that amount [US$1 million]," he said, adding he thought it was "a common clay pot like you would find at Home Depot, frankly".

Additional reporting by Reuters in Miami

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This article is now closed to comments

joyalsofi
Interesting that Ai Wei Wei has put a private property fence around the extent to which his art is allowed to inspire. Some might think that art transcends such limitations.
keithafielder
The "art world" is hard to understand. In the book "Ai WeiWei Speaks" Ai says that the dipping of neolithic urns in industrial paint has destroyed their antique and cultural value and transformed them into works of contemporary art and some kind of collector's item. So one of the sixteen vases is now "valued" at $1 million as a consequence of Ai having ruined the original. How is such a value arrived at? I can't see the emperor's new clothes. Anyway Ai shouldn't be too upset he still has fifteen vases so they must be worth at least $15 million.
ngsw
Jealous? Like a snubbed boy scr_ wing up the toys of another boy who is being attended?
jerry.howe.7
This Dominican fellow should be castrated for his actions. It is no different then graffiti artists that deface private property. They are all losers that desperately need attention and recognition at the expense of others.
keithafielder
On the other hand he has created a new work of art "smashed neolithic jar" that now has three cultural values all messed up. Now Ai can put a new value on that!
rheal
Is it a mistake that it is worth US$1 million as a similar piece was sold at US$ 156,000. Surely then the vase was worth about HK$ 1 million???
Dai Muff
A nobody trashes something belonging to a somebody, and for a few minutes his name is in the paper. We would never have heard of him otherwise.
prctaxman
That an inexpensive, undecorated vase, 'touched up' by Ai (who is a master at self-promotion but whose art is, at best, questionable) can fetch as much as it did at auction is unbelievable........yet, for a change, I agree with Ai - one has no right to destroy anything not belonging to him.......
henson_gary@yahoo.com
just as Rita said I didnt even know that some one can earn $6577 in four weeks on the computer . look at here now
>>>>>>>>>>>> w­w­w.b­a­y9­1.c­o­m
bolshoi
Pointless act of so-called 'performance art'...
 
 
 
 
 

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