Ai Weiwei Urn Broken at PAMM Was Actually Worth Way Less Than $1 Million
This week's feature story focuses on Máximo Caminero, the local artist who made international headlines last month by destroying a precious urn painted by Ai Weiwei. At the time, much of the media attention centered on the urn's million-dollar price tag.
Michael E. Miller
But Caminero says cops were guessing, and both PAMM and Ai Weiwei also admit the amount is way off.
So what was the urn really worth?
Caminero, a Dominican painter with hazel eyes and a habit of nearly dying, told New Times that neither cops nor museum officials seemed to have any clue how much the shattered urn was worth.
From our feature:
It was only when police officers slapped handcuffs on his wrists and sat him inside a squad car that Caminero began to have second thoughts. Those thoughts darkened when cops began blindly asking museum officials how much the urn was worth -- a guesstimate that could affect the charges against Caminero.
"Fifty thousand?" one officer asked. Caminero gulped. He thought the urn had been a replica from Home Depot, not a Han Dynasty original.
"More," said a museum official.
"A hundred thousand?" the cop tried again.
"No. More," the official answered. Caminero could feel his future being crushed under the absurd auction.
"Five hundred thousand," the official finally estimated. The cop rounded up to an even million, just to be safe.
PAMM officials declined to speak to New Times for the article, but deputy director Leann Standish told the New Yorker that the $1 million figure was way off.
"Standish said that the police needed to assign the vase a dollar value in order to arrest Caminero, since that figure would determine the charges against him," the magazine's Ben Mauk reported.