Ai Weiwei Vandalism: Some Miami Artists Praise Protester at PAMM

Categories: Crime

via Miami-Dade Corrections
Maximo Caminero faces felony charges over the protest.
The art world was shocked yesterday to learn someone had deliberately destroyed an Ai Weiwei piece at the Perez Art Museum Miami. Shock turned to incredulity when they learned the vandal wasn't a political protester, but rather veteran Miami painter Maximo Caminero, who shattered a Weiwei vase to draw attention to what he sees as neglect for local artists. Caminero has been roundly condemned for the vandalism.

But some Miami artists say they agree with his message, if not his medium for expressing it. "I never would have done what he did, (but) I think what he did was important," says Sergio Payares, a 52-year-old Cuban painter who previously had a studio space in the same building with Caminero. "It will help focus attention that many local artists here are ignored by PAMM and other local museums."

See also: Miami Artist Destroyed $1M Ai Weiwei Vase Because PAMM "Only Displays International Artists"

Others are even less guarded in their praise.

"I think it's the most courageous act ever undertaken by a Miami artist," says Sergio Garcia, a 54-year-old Cuban-born artist. "I commend Maximo Caminero totally for his actions and think he has helped squarely focus attention from the international community on the plight of local artists."

Some artists suggested Caminero's crime was in keeping with Weiwei's own political philosophy, pointing to his piece on display at PAMM "Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn," in which he destroys an ancient Chinese artifact.

"I think Ai Weiwei is going to be sensitive to Maximo's act," says Emilio Martinez, a 32-year-old artist originally from Honduras. "Ai has undergone his own political struggles against his government and that is what Maximo has done through his actions."

But Ai criticized Caminero in an interview with the New York Times this morning.

"The argument does not support the act," he tells the newspaper. "It doesn't sound right. His argument doesn't make much sense. If he really had a point, he should choose another way, because this will bring him trouble to destroy property that does not belong to him."

Caminero has admitted that he didn't know the value of Ai's work -- which police tagged at $1 million -- when he chose to destroy it. And his friends, like Payares, say they are still shocked the quiet painter thrust himself into the spotlight with such a brazen act.

"Maximo is the calmest person one can imagine and I did not believe it when I first heard the news," Payares says. "I don't think Maximo understood the repercussions of his actions and did it in a moment of desperate frustration perhaps thinking he could help others."

Ai tells the Times he isn't sure whether the vase can be fixed, but he's not sweating the destruction too much. "I'm O.K. with it, if a work is destroyed," he says. "A work is a work. It's a physical thing. What can you do? It's already over."

Caminero faces a felony charge of criminal mischief; he's scheduled a press conference later this afternoon to talk about the case.

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24 comments
siwiitv
siwiitv

Well at lease he has a point. And not like that guy Iam Tmnk who go around Wynwood and destroy other people Art. and call it a" forcecallbro" to me is a crack of Shi#t. And he say Art is his Weapon.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.....................it is diplomatic of chinese weiwei to give this hispanic maximo an OUT since ai knows what jail time is like which is where maximo is apparently headed

on the other hand it gives anyone thinking MIAMI is a wasteland ANOTHER reason to point to the area having no respect for ART or most other culturally significant resources and why its party central but not much else = period

it also give hispanic haters another reason to ask them to go back to their home country so that MIAMI can once again be an integral part of AMERICA with real AMERICANs here

what i really fear is finding out this whole episode is a SCAM perpetrated by a pay off from a real estate devloper to sell condo units to drug dealers (afterall there are another DOZEN or so other wei wei POTs in the exhibit so what's ONE LESS) or an insurance scam by same to get reimbursed money funding the museum (AND THERE IS something just not right with maximo's story)

siwiitv
siwiitv

Well at lease he has a point. And not like that guy Iam Tmnk who go around Wynwood and destroy other people Art. and call it a" forcecallbro" to me is a crack of Shi#t. He all-way say

Art is his Weapon. And he show it


Winston Tinubu
Winston Tinubu

still cant get over the irony of the whole thing

Sam_888
Sam_888

Sorry, but I sympathize with this guy. You know why? Because Ai Wei Wei's art is nothing but a bunch of hackenyed political commentary. Moreover, the contemporary art world is a cesspool filled with rich collectors, smug curators, galleries who will only show what can sell, all of whom are virtually colluding in a vast unregulated market to basically enhance and prop up the prices of rich collectors and over-favored artists in one giant white male boy's club. Public tax dollars are given to all these museums and artists who are not conceptual bullshit makers  - i.e. who actually have a few braincells going and make work that doesn't look like crap - never have any visibility. Ever wonder why it is that our tax dollars go to support curators that make decisions on what constitutes "Culture" for the rest of us ? How about public money being used by rotating members of the public to curate shows and raise the profile of those who are constantly passed over? Key point - some silly vase Ai Wei Wei phoned in via cellphone and made by an assistant is worth "1 million dollars." You gotta be kidding me.

Eric Rodriguez
Eric Rodriguez

Hah what a schmuck, he calls smashing one vase an act of protest, his actions didn't do anything but get him arrested and make him a pariah in the art community

Hugo Lopez
Hugo Lopez

What a disgrace of a pathetic untalented so-called "artist". I wish I could do what he did to his life.

Carl Kruse
Carl Kruse

The museum needs better security. To say Miami needs fewer self-centered, self-entitled, misguided, nasty artists (and people in general) while true, doesn't get us anywhere.

Dirk DeSouza
Dirk DeSouza

Or focus on added Security. One of the two.

Kevin Arrow
Kevin Arrow

This is untrue. If this pin-head only took the time to realize that PAMM is full of Miami artists both young and old. He is upset that he is not. I hate his smug face.

psittacus
psittacus

My first impression is this: Latino righteous anger can sometimes be unreasonable and unhinged. Were the actions of Maximo racist? Probably. But everyone is racist. Leftists have their de facto religion, dogmas, and heresy trials just as much as conservatives do. They also have their destructive angry racist unhinged righteous crackpots.

There is a LOT of unhinged anger in Miami apparently, at "the man," even when "the man" is a dissident artist from Beijing.

What a complete idiot this Maximo person is. Can you as a Miami Latino make your own community more happy & less dysfunctional?

Leslie Gallegos
Leslie Gallegos

The only thing this will focus on is how unprofessional local artists are and why you should continue to exclude them. Great job idiot.

Juny Lee
Juny Lee

Hey Miami local artists-if you think this was right- maybe you suck as an artist. Too bad so sad....

Gabriel Trujillo Jr.
Gabriel Trujillo Jr.

No. It will focus attention on the many local artists with a sense of self entitlement. Just because you see Romero Britto's clown barf scattered around the city doesn't meant you're an artist that deserves to be in a museum.

Craig Oneil
Craig Oneil

The short reply would be "this is why we cant have nice things" The long reply is. The Perez is built to be a world class art museum akin to the MOMA, The Whitney, etc. Its program and its collection should be managed accordingly and Miami artists being pissed that a museum doesnt include their work in either its exhibits or its permanent collection are short sighted. Regardless of their opinion on the matter, destroying art that is on loan to the museum is wrong, all it does is hurt the museums ability to source additional world class exhibits and expand its collection. The strength of this institution would raise the cache of Miami and help Miami be taken seriously as an art market, which would then benefit the artists that are stamping their feet because their museum doesnt exhibit their work. The museum doesnt include work by artists that I collect either, but my idea was to join as a member, become part of one of their groups that advised the acqusition plan and help contribute to the conversation. Smashing exhibits isnt going to change the museums scope and only hurts art in Miami as a whole.

Cindy Mejia
Cindy Mejia

I am not in support of any of this. This is just an incomplete SHAME and DISGRACE to the words 'Miami Artist'.

Alexander Fernandez
Alexander Fernandez

Perfect storm of envy, mediocrity and delusion on the part of many who rationalize this "act".

Deathray Jones
Deathray Jones

It's a find museum in many ways, but it was basically funded and built to provide Jorge Perez a tax shelter for his art collection. Maybe Mr. Perez should invest in more local artists as well.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

......................oh boy i knew there would most likely be one of these posts here -

however - the roman catholic church is multiples greater in number of pieces and thus total value of ALL other ownership COMBINED and of course pays no taxes on these assets and otherwise gets public taxpayer support to maintain this world-wide collection

otherwise also on the high end are the BRITISH monarchy again getting public taxpayer support for a privately owned very valuable private collection including the crown jewels

i think that my post here significantly INCREASES your "one giant white male boy's club" count to include popes, bishops, kings and princes

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...........................................it always comes down to an apology afterwards AND maximo may indeed serve jail time BUT there is an intial dysfunction aspect to these actions and maybe its the very strong coffee combined with the very bright sun and the very hot temperament that causes this

hispanics just do NOT pay attention in social settings AND otherwise everything is a REVOLUTION mindset initially - and after contemplation and consideration comes MODERATION - but first comes the eruption

i would HATE to think this was a paid for action by a developer selling real estate

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................one IDIOT is no reflection on the others HERE in MIAMI or elsewhere - it's NOT like they all took a vote and egged him ON to DO IT

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................well ART is stolen sometimes right off the walls in plain sight during sometimes museum operating hours all the time everywhere so ART to be made public is at risk when exposed as it is

the problem is MIAMI isn't taken seriously for anything especially ART where museums are really an extention of salesrooms for sponsor parties extending a marketing and promotion sales pitch

the PATRONs come just to party and the MUSEUM funds its operations from the advertisement revenue - the ART is never the draw here, the PARTY is = period

when you don't respect yourself don't expect others to respect you - right ?

MIAMI wants to be party central and the ART is only a back-drop

it's why ROTHKO abandonded a multi-million dollar commission from the FOUR SEASONs restaurant fifty years ago - the ARTIST didn't want his ART simply used as a back-drop like wallpaper while uber-rich ate and drank without ever noticing the ART

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