Ai Weiwei Unflustered By Vandal Vase Smash, Despite $1 Million Damage
The Chinese artist didn't seem to be furious that a protester had destroyed his work.
Ai Weiwei has practically brushed off an incident in Miami where a fellow artist destroyed one of his painted vases. Urns from the Han dynasty of 206 BC - 220 AD that had been painted in bright colours by Mr. Ai were on display in the US museum when Mexican artist Maximo Caminero chose to smash one before being arrested.
The vase that Caminero smashed was reportedly worth $1 million but the Chinese artist hasn't reacted with the fury that many would have expected. Instead, Mr. Ai expressed a confusion for Caminero's motive. "When I received the report of the damage, I didn't pay much attention, because my work is often being destroyed or broken during the exhibitions," Mr. Ai told AFP.
"So, I thought... the museum will take care of it, or the insurance company," he continued, adding "But [then] I see in the news it's an artist who said he intentionally destroyed this because-he gives us some reason, which I think it doesn't sound right," Ai added. "That's my feeling."
Notably, Ai's art installation featured photographs of the artist smashing one of the urns himself which acted as a backdrop to the painted vases. Caminero has claimed that this feature served as inspiration for his actions, which are being treated as vandalism. "I saw it as a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest," Mr Caminero told the Miami New Times.
"I did it for all the local artists in Miami that have never been shown in museums here," Mr. Ai elaborated. "They have spent so many millions now on international artists." However, Ai Weiwei has not condoned Caminero's actions and has highlighted the distinction between the smashing of the vases.
"The work I work on [does] not belong to a museum or other people's property. I never tried to destroy a museum piece - those vases belong to me. He can drop whatever he likes to drop, but not other people's property," he said.
Mr. Ai also drew on his own experience when he explained that he didn't believe Caminero's motive was justified "I still don't have a chance to show my work in China or Beijing. I never even think of going to a museum in Beijing to protest - if I [did], I would be punished."