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US artist smashes £600,000 vase

A Florida artist is facing a criminal charge after police say he smashed a one million dollar (£600,000) vase at Miami's new art museum in what appears to be a form of protest.

Maximo Caminero, 51, was charged with criminal mischief after Sunday's incident at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

He picked up a coloured vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei and when told to put it down, a security guard said Caminero smashed it on the floor.

Caminero told officers he broke the vase to protest at the museum's lack of local artist displays. Caminero, a painter who lives in Miami, declined comment when reached by telephone on Monday. He said he will have an afternoon news conference Tuesday.

"I'm going to answer all the questions," he said.

The police affidavit lists the value of the vase as one million dollars, quoting the museum's security officials. Criminal mischief can be a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison when the property damaged is worth more than 1,000 dollars (£600).

Caminero had a recent showing at the JF Gallery in West Palm Beach that offered patrons a chance to meet him and "view a sampling of the work from his 30-year career as an artist."

A sculptor, designer and documentary-maker, Ai has angered Beijing by using his art and online profile to draw attention to injustices in China and the need for greater transparency and rule of law. He was detained for 81 days in 2011 during crackdown on dissent,

AP

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