Ai Weiwei Urn Broken at PAMM Was Actually Worth Way Less Than $1 Million

Categories: Crime

Michael E. Miller
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.

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?

See also: Maximo Caminero's Million-Dollar Attack on the Miami Art World

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.

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WhyNotNow topcommenter

More importantly, it could very well be worth $10.00. They don't like to discuss it, but Museums often use what are called "exhibition pieces" in place of the real art. They do it to guard against exactly what happened. I wish someone would ask the museum pointedly if this was the case. At the very least caminero's attorney should ask as that would make this a very different story.

Byron Scott Jones
Byron Scott Jones

I bought the exact same vase for $15 at Big Lots. Just saying...

frankd4 topcommenter

............................amateurish from start to end, the reporting, the museum response, the presentation to the public, the reaction to the artwork itself and now the events results

MIAMI is a classless community that doesn't do culture and abandons all civility for a buck = period

it's why drug kingpins dominate the real estate scene unapprehended by corrupt police and on-the-take elected officials,  and tourists provide continuous opportunity to perpetuate scams in the food and beverage and lodging industries, and entertainment consists mainly of primarily adolescent activities that feed egos

Ingrid E. Argueta
Ingrid E. Argueta

Valentina isnt this some "ancient vase" ...shouldnt it be work a lot

Jayan Bertrand
Jayan Bertrand

The guy was caught on film destroying the vase and he gets to plead not guilty? Aaah, the American Justice system at work


This story is really about how news media will report anything they see or hear as they understand it without any critical thinking involved.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

Brad is correct. What Ai Weiwei does is destroy Chinese archaeological artifacts. I can't condone what Caminero did, but let's not for a second respect what Weiwei does to history.

Yolie Rodriguez
Yolie Rodriguez

I knew it all along, that "Rugrats style Nick Jr cartoon" paint job on those vases is not even worth $50.

Clara Sadurni Himel
Clara Sadurni Himel

It doesn't matter if it was a dollar or a million dollars...he still damaged someone else's property.

Brad Flaherty
Brad Flaherty

The art lost it's value when the artist defaced the ancient artifacts that were thousands of years old. He splattered and dipped them into paint and ruined the originals. Don't forget that.

HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Well they can't exactly make you plead guilty.

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