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Local Artist Destroys $1 Million Ai Weiwei Vase At Museum "In Protest"

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - It's no secret that when visiting museums one must browse the art on display with care. A local artist visiting the Perez Art Museum Miami on Sunday however, abandoned caution as a form of protest—allegedly smashing a world-renowned Chinese artist's vase into pieces.

Maximo Caminero, according to the arrest affidavit, was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal mischief after allegedly picking up, and then smashing an Ai Weiwei vase at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

Maximo Caminero Mug
Maximo Caminero (Source: Miami-Dade Police Department)

The vase, which could be as much as 7,000 years old, is part of the Ai Weiwei: According To What? exhibit which runs through March 16.

According to the affidavit, the vase is worth $1,000,000.

"Yesterday a museum visitor intentionally broke a vase in the Ai Weiwei exhibition," Leann Standish, Deputy Director for External Affairs, said in a press release. "The museum's security team immediately secured the galleries and the person was apprehended. He is now in police custody, and the museum is working with the authorities in their investigation.  However, the museum remains open and we look forward to continuing to welcome visitors from Miami and around the world."

PAMM's security told Caminero, according to the affidavit, to put the vase down—but he didn't listen. Instead Caminero threw and broke the vase—which shattered into pieces.

Caminero, whose occupation is listed as an artist on the affidavit, "spontaneously" told an officer that he broke the vase in protest of local artists because the museum only displays international artist's work.

Caminero, 51, is in police custody and the museum is working with authorities throughout their investigation.

Caminero, the artist charged in the allegedly jealous attack on the Weiwei vase, declined to discuss the case when CBS4's Gary Nelson reached him by phone.  Caminero said he will hold a news conference on Tuesday.

Mike Gordon, a visitor from Washington DC, was at the museum with his daughter, Samantha, who he adopted from China – the violated artist's homeland.

"You see museums, all the time, say 'Do Not Touch The Art Work.'  And it's just disrespectful to the museum and the owner of the vases," said Gordon.

Dr. Irving Waldman of Aventura, visiting the museum with his grandson, Jarrad, said, "It's terrible.  It's horrible.  Man's inhumanity."

Despite the unruly visit, the museum remains open Monday to all visitors.

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