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Museum visitor Maximo Caminero destroys $1 million Chinese artist Ai Weiwei vase 'in protest'

3:45 PM, Feb 17, 2014   |    comments
Ai Weiwei vases on display at the Perez Art Museum Miami. Officials say a visitor took one of the vases -- estimated to be about $1 million -- and smashed it. Photo courtesy CBS4 and PBS.
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MIAMI, Florida (CBSMiami) - It's no secret that when visiting museums one must be extra careful with the art on display. On Sunday, one Perez Art Museum Miami visitor abandoned caution and allegedly smashed a world-renowned Chinese artist's vase into pieces.

Maximo Caminero, according to the arrest affidavit, was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal mischief after allegedly picking up, and then smashing an Ai Weiwei vase.

The vase -- which could be as much as 7,000 years old -- is part of the Ai Weiwei: According To What? exhibit which runs through March 16.

According to the affidavit, the vase is worth $1,000,000.

"Yesterday a museum visitor intentionally broke a vase in the Ai Weiwei exhibition," Leann Standish, Deputy Director for External Affairs, said in a press release. "The museum's security team immediately secured the galleries and the person was apprehended. He is now in police custody, and the museum is working with the authorities in their investigation.  However, the museum remains open and we look forward to continuing to welcome visitors from Miami and around the world."

According to the affidavit, PAMM's security told Camino to put the vase down, but he didn't listen. Instead he threw and broke the vase, which shattered into pieces.

Camino, whose occupation is listed as an artist on the affidavit, "spontaneously" told an officer that he broke the vase in protest of local artists, because the museum only displays international artists' works.

Camino, 51, is in police custody and the museum is working with authorities throughout their investigation.

Despite the unruly visit, the museum remains open Monday to all visitors. 

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