Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pottery protest

I looked up sharply at the TV yesterday to see the video of a man who deliberately broke a million-dollar vase at a museum in Miami over the weekend. Then I researched the story to find that it was not just an act of vandalism – it's much more complicated than that. The Perez Art Museum is showing the work of contemporary Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei through mid-March. Among the pieces on display are more than a dozen vases painted in bright colors, so 51-year-old local artist Maximo Caminero picked up a large one from the floor and dropped it, smashing it to bits. Caminero claims that his act – a protest against the museum for its failure to exhibit the work of local artists – was inspired by the art of Ai Weiwei himself. The photographs behind the smaller vases (IMAGE ABOVE) document Ai's most famous performance piece, "Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn," in which he destroyed a 2,000-year-old piece of Chinese pottery. Thinking he had smashed a common clay pot like you would find at the Home Depot, Caminero had in fact destroyed an urn of equal age. Underneath the gaudy paint applied by Ai were more antiques from the Han dynasty. When reached for comment, Ai said of Caminero– rather ironically in my opinion, since cultural property belongs to us all even when it is in private hands, The argument does not support the act. It doesn’t sound right. His argument doesn’t make much sense. If he really had a point, he should choose another way, because this will bring him trouble to destroy property that does not belong to him.”

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