2014.02.20 Thu, by Translated by: 梁舒涵
Relational Aesthetics Strike in Miami

Security cameras at the Perez Museum on Sunday caught Miami-based artist Maximo Caminero as he walked into an exhibition, picked up an Ai Weiwei art work, and dropped it nonchalantly on the floor.

The smashed vase was one of sixteen Han-dynasty vessels repainted by Ai Weiwei in bright industrial colors for the installation work “Colored Vases” (2006-12). The work is on show as part of the “According to What?” retrospective of Ai’s work at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. Caminero, a 51-year-old painter originally from the Dominican Republic, told the Miami New Times:

“I wanted to draw attention to the fact that there are many foreign artists like myself and others who have been here thirty years and have never received attention or support from MAM or now PAMM and other local museums….We are all taxpayers here and PAMM used $200 million of public money on its building and opened with Weiwei’s work to draw attention to itself and as always continues to ignore local artists.”

He apparently had no idea that the vase was worth $1 million, and feels “so sorry” about it. He calls this a “spontaneous protest.”

According to the news channel CNN, Ai Weiwei

“…didn’t have ‘much reaction’ to the news, but said that he thought that a line should be drawn when it came to damaging public or private property as part of a protest. ‘I can’t have a show in Beijing but I cannot go to museums to break work in Beijing,’ he said in a phone interview. ‘My work is basically forbidden to be shown in China….The protest itself may be valid but to damage somebody’s work to do that is questionable….My work belongs to me; it doesn’t belong to the public and also it doesn’t [belong to] somebody else.’ He said he that believes he has been contacted by the gallery but he isn’t taking the loss too seriously. ‘I don’t really care much and actually my work is often damaged in different shows, because it’s fragile, so normally I don’t take these things too highly. Damage is damage, you know. If they have insurance, maybe it will be covered.’”

It has not escaped the notice of those receiving this news that what Caminero calls his “spontaneous protest” bears a striking resemblance to Ai Weiwei’s own performance in 1995 entitled “Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn.” Ai has replied that he considered his work to be “very different.”