Ai Weiwei: Smashed vase in Miami echoes artist's own work

In an act of protest that might also have been an act of artistic homage, a man destroyed a vase believed to be worth $1 million at artist Ai Weiwei's museum exhibition that is currently running at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

The incident occurred on Sunday and involved a local artist identified in reports as Maximo Caminero, who is believed to have been protesting the museum's focus on international artists at the expense of local ones.

Caminero, who was arrested, is believed to have smashed a vase that was on display in "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," an exhibition that has been touring museums in the U.S. over the last several months.

The smashed vase echoes one of Ai's own photographic works that depicts the artist's dropping a ceramic vase from the Han Dynasty to the ground and smashing it.

On Tuesday, Ai tweeted a comment he had given to CNN: "The protest itself may be valid but to damage somebody's work to do that is questionable."  
The artist told CNN that the destroyed vase doesn't bother him because his work has been damaged before. In 2007, Ai's large-scale installation "Template" collapsed after a storm at Documenta 12 in Germany. The artist decided to display the collapsed artwork rather than have it repaired. 

Reports say that Caminero was charged with criminal mischief. In a statement released on Monday, the Perez Art Museum Miami said "evidence suggests that this was a premeditated act."

The statement said the museum is working with authorities on their investigation.

Ancient vases have been a recurring motif in Ai's body of work. In the past, the artist has painted the Coca-Cola logo onto ceramic vases dating from ancient Chinese dynasties.