Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Máximo Caminero, Florida Artist Lovingly Displayed by Fidel Castro, Destroys $1 Million Ai Weiwei Vase at Miami Exhibition

Interesting story.

The artist, Máximo Caminero, doesn't communicate well in English. Indeed, commenters at his studio's Facebook page use Spanish. And the link for his personal Facebook page isn't coming up in the search box, perhaps dropped down the memory hole amid the controversy.

In any case, here's the far-left Miami New Times, "Miami Artist Destroyed $1M Ai Weiwei Vase Because PAMM "Only Displays International Artists'."

And the New York Times has it as well, "Ai Weiwei Vase Is Destroyed by Protester at Miami Museum":

M photo Caminero_Facebook_page_zps019dec49.jpg
MIAMI — Officials at the recently inaugurated Pérez Art Museum Miami confirmed on Monday that a valuable vase by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei had been deliberately destroyed by a visitor in what appeared to be an act of protest.

A spokeswoman for the museum said the incident occurred on Sunday afternoon when a local artist, whom it did not name, walked into the waterfront museum and picked up one of the vases in an installation of Mr. Ai’s work titled “Colored Vases.” A guard asked the man to put it down, but instead he threw it to the ground, smashing it, the spokeswoman said.

The Miami New Times said Maximo Caminero, 51, was arrested.

Pérez Art Museum Miami, which opened with much fanfare during the Art Basel festival here in December, published a statement on its website saying that after the vase had been broken in the museum’s retrospective exhibit of Mr. Ai’s work, a security team “immediately secured the galleries and the person was apprehended.” Without mentioning Mr. Caminero’s name, the statement said that the museum was “working with the authorities in their investigation.”

“Although the museum can’t speak directly to intentions, evidence suggests that this was a premeditated act,” the museum’s statement went on. “As an art museum dedicated to celebrating modern and contemporary artists from within our community and around the world, we have the highest respect for freedom of expression, but this destructive act is vandalism and disrespectful to another artist and his work, to Pérez Art Museum Miami, and to our community.”

Mr. Caminero, a native of the Dominican Republic who has long lived in Miami, told the Miami New Times, a weekly newspaper, after his arrest that he had broken the vase to protest what he said was the museum’s exclusion of local artists in its exhibits.

Local news reports said he was charged with criminal mischief. Miami police officials would not confirm Monday evening that Mr. Caminero had been charged, but said they would address the issue on Tuesday morning.
More at the link. Mr. Ai is not pleased:
Reached by telephone in China, Mr. Ai said he had initially understood the vase to have been broken accidentally. But then he read a news report that the vase in Miami had been deliberately smashed, and questioned Mr. Caminero’s expressed reason for doing so.

“The argument does not support the act," Mr. Ai said. “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.”

Mr. Ai said he had no idea whether the vase could be fixed or whether its loss would be covered by insurance. But he said he was not overly distressed by the breakage. "I'm O.K. with it, if a work is destroyed," Mr. Ai said. "A work is a work. It's a physical thing. What can you do? It's already over."
Well, it doesn't sound right if you're a normal, well-adjusted person not normally prone to railing against imaginary injustices. But this Caminero dude, by the looks of his Facebook profile, is some kind of passionate idealist motivated by "philosophy" and whose experience is rooted in the "day by day" of the "human struggle." A Marxist utopian, no doubt.

And as it turns out, his work is apparently appreciated enough to hang in the home of Cuban President Emeritus Fidel Castro. The Dominicana en Miami website tweeted a story titled "Fidel Castro y Máximo Caminero." The piece has been taken down, although the cached version is here. The caption reads: "In a recently published photo of Ignacio Ramonet during his meeting last December 13 in Havana, the work of Máximo Caminero ... Dominican painter hangs in the background."

Ramonet is the Spanish journalist featured in this report from the Associated Press, "Cuba's ex-president Fidel Castro appears in first new photo in months." The photo was picked up later by London's Daily Mail as an example of Cuba's state censors doctoring images of Dear Leader Castro. See, "Cuba found to be issuing doctored pictures of ailing former president Fidel Castro and photo-shopping his hearing aid."

I just love how Máximo Caminero, our artist of the "human struggle," gets the obviously huge props from Fidel. Someone down in Miami's Dominican community thought it important enough to tout Fidel's beloved endorsement of Caminero's work. Interesting how now the artist's actions might not reflect back so well on the revolutionary leader and the ideological bankruptcy of the Cuban people's regime. Shoot, Caminero's actions are being excoriated as those of a petulant child in the comments at the leftist Miami New Times, which makes sense, since leftist regressive socialists are petulant clowns fueled by childish notions that imaginary injustices justify the criminal destruction of world class pottery art.