MIAMI — A case of: Do as I say, not as I do?
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, famous for his thought-provoking and often controversial art, was on the receiving end of a spectacular act of iconoclasm this weekend, when a local Miami artist smashed one of his vases.
The vase — estimated at a whopping $1 million, a figure Ai himself called "ridiculous" — was destroyed at the "According to What?" exhibition at the Perez Art Museum Miami, by a local artist identified as Maximo Caminero.
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.
Caminero, who was subsequently arrested and charged with criminal mischief, says he destroyed the vase in protest of what he says is the failure of the Pérez Art Museum Miami to exhibit local artists.
Ai said he thought the gesture did not "make any sense" and that it was "very different" from his own work showing him dropping an antique vase (also featured in the Miami exhibition) —what Caminero cited as the inspiration behind his protest gesture.
Interviewed by CNN, Ai still said he wasn't taking the loss too seriously: "I don't really care much and actually my work is often damaged in different shows, because it's fragile, so normally I don't take these things too highly."
Main photo: Ross Catrow