Feb 28, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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A few dozen artists have promised to donate their works for an auction to raise money for the legal expenses of their fellow artist Maximo Caminero.

He’s the man who smashed a vase which had been painted by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei at a Miami museum on February 16th.

Caminero faces five years in prison if convicted of criminal mischief.

Right after the breakage, Caminero said he broke the vase to draw attention to a lack of exhibition space for local artists in Miami’s museums – but he’s since explained that he was driven more by a spontaneous impulse to emulate Mr. Ai’s own destruction of vases and he had acted from a sense of solidarity with the Chinese dissident’s problems with the authorities in China, who have forbidden him from traveling abroad.

Caminero says he didn’t realize he had broken a Han dynasty vase until after he had dropped it – and read the plaque nearby that described its provenance, and that he had immediately regretted destroying it.

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