Ai Weiwei Vase Smasher Gets Probation For Perez Museum Incident

Maximo Caminero, a 51-year-old artist from the Dominican Republic has pleaded guilty to smashing a brightly painted Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) Chinese vase by the dissident artist Ai Weiwei, which compiled part of the exhibition held at the Perez Art Museum in Miami this year. He agreed to the lesser charge of criminal mischief and avoided a further Jail sentence. He will now be on probation for 18 months, serving 100 hours of community service which will be filled by teaching children how to paint. Mr. Caminero must also pay $10,000 in damages for the vase, which was smashed on Feb. 16 2014.

Claiming it was a political act, protesting the lack of local artists on display in the museum, the defendant stated in a letter read out in court to Judge Maria Elena Verde of Miami-Dade Circuit Court, “I was wrong,”  “I think about what I did every day, and I find it hard to live with what I did because it still haunts me.”

Mr. Caminero will be making monthly payments of $555 to Berkley Asset Protection Underwriting Managers, which had insured the Ai Weiwei museum show.  $10,000 has been paid out to Mr. Ai for the destroyed vase. (The original Police report, had valued the vase at $1 million.) Mr. Ai received a further $10,000 as his artist’s fee for the exhibition at the Pérez museum. He stated in a previous interview, ‘The braking of the vase was no big deal as many of my works get broken in transit, setup and breakdown of exhibitions.

Lilly Ann Sanchez, a lawyer for the museum said, “He has acknowledged that this kind of deviant destruction of someone else’s property is completely inappropriate.”

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