MIAMI - A South Florida artist is facing a criminal charge after police say he smashed a $1 million vase at Miami's new art museum in what appears to be a form of protest.
Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief
after Sunday's incident at the Perez Art Museum Miami. According to a Miami
Police Department arrest affidavit, a security guard told officers that
Caminero picked up a colored vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. When
told to put it down, the security guard said Caminero smashed it on the floor.
"I'm going to answer all the questions," he said.
The police affidavit lists the value of the vase as $1
million, quoting the museum's security officials. Criminal mischief can be a
third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison when the property
damaged is worth more than $1,000.
According to PAMM's web site, the vase is one of more than a
dozen that are part of a floor installation. Each vase is partially painted in
Dr. Irving Waldman of Aventura, Fla., visiting the museum with his grandson,
Jarrad, told CBS Miami, “It’s terrible. It’s horrible. Man’s inhumanity.”
The Ai Weiwei: According to What? exhibit runs through March 16 at the museum. Museum officials did not immediately respond Monday to emails seeking comment.
A sculptor, designer and documentary-maker, Ai has irked Beijing by using his art and online profile to draw attention to injustices in China and the need for greater transparency and rule of law. He was detained for 81 days in 2011 during crackdown on dissent.
After his release in June 2011, Ai's design firm was slapped with a $2.4 million tax bill, which he fought unsuccessfully in the Chinese courts.