(above : not one of Ai Weiwei’s more acclaimed works)

Miami painter Maximo Caminero is accused of smashing a vase valued at more than $1 million while on display at Pérez Art Museum Miami.  The vase, part of the “Colored Vases” collection by Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei, was destroyed in what Caminero is calling an act of protest specifically inspired by Weiwei’s own work.  “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,” Caminero tells New Times’ Mitchell E. Miller, adding, “I admire Ai Weiwei greatly and have always supported his actions while he was suffering indignities from the Chinese government.”

Caminero tells New Times that he had no idea Weiwei’s work was worth $1 million.

“I didn’t know that it was that amount,” he says. “I feel so sorry about it, for sure.”

“It was a spontaneous protest,” he explains. “I was at PAMM and saw Ai Weiwei’s photos behind the vases where he drops an ancient Chinese vase and breaks it. And I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest.”

“If you saw the vases on display and the way they were painted there was no way one would think the artist had painted over an ancient artifact,” Caminero says. “Instead I thought it was a common clay pot like you would find at Home Depot, frankly.”