Yet he also saw Rosanna less and less. By the time Caminero quit his job at Flanigan's in 2004, it was too late.

"There is no indication this guy is a good artist," Snitzer says. "I hope he doesn't blow me up for saying that."

"My dad was always passionate about art, so passionate that he risked his whole marriage," Maxiell says. "He definitely put art as the focal point of the relationship. I think my mom was very jealous of that. He basically cheated on my mom with art."

Rosanna adds, "For 35 years I was happy with this guy, but things happen. It's difficult to marry an artist... He lived all his time in the studio to create, create, create."

Máximo Caminero inside his studio at 77th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.
Michael E. Miller
Máximo Caminero inside his studio at 77th Street and Biscayne Boulevard.
Ai Weiwei's Breaking a Han Dynasty Urn, which Caminero says he took as "a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest."
Michael E. Miller
Ai Weiwei's Breaking a Han Dynasty Urn, which Caminero says he took as "a provocation by Weiwei to join him in an act of performance protest."

When Rosanna asked him for a divorce in 2006, Caminero reluctantly agreed. He didn't even hire a lawyer. Instead, he gave her two of the couple's three houses — all mortgaged — and promised to support their daughters. When they finally signed the divorce papers, Rosanna and Máximo wept together in court.

"Everybody else in the court was really happy to be divorced," Rosanna says. "But we were hugging and kissing and crying."

Without Rosanna to dress him in sharp suits, Caminero began wearing baggy jeans and sweaters. He started smoking incessantly, surviving on what seemed to his ex like nothing more than cigarettes and coffee. He still owned a small house in Aventura but spent most nights sleeping on a small cot in his studio, beneath the complete works of José Martí and photos of his daughters.

Without his job at the liquor store, Caminero struggled to pay the rent for his studio. Court records show he was nearly evicted several times. But he preferred his life this way: stripped down to the basics. He finished his novel in three months. And he began to create feverishly, painfully, personally. When his father passed away, he painted a portrait of him on the blanket in which he died.

"I lost my fear," he says. "Before, I didn't really care if I sold a painting. But now I had to become a real artist."

His paintings kept selling in Puerto Rico. They also went up in restaurants and galleries in Panama, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. His work was included in an exhibition in West Palm Beach during Art Basel 2012. And last year, he landed a solo exhibition at Museo de la Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín.

But Miami was another world. Here, some galleries told Caminero he had to pay thousands simply to hang his paintings on their walls and then hand over half the money if they sold. Máximo stopped trying. When Art Wynwood rolled around in February, the gallery in West Palm Beach that represented him didn't attend. Caminero was cut out of the lucrative five-day fair.

Sunday morning, the penultimate day of Art Wynwood, Caminero sat inside his studio reading a book by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. In one story, the abbot of a Buddhist monastery presented the monks with a test: a beautiful vase of flowers. One monk after another walked up, stared at the vase, and set it back down in confusion. Finally, a young monk picked up the pot and promptly dropped it. "You are the person we are looking for," the abbot said.

Caminero decided to take a trip to the museum. When he saw the photos of Ai Weiwei dropping the urn, he knew what he must do.

"There are no coincidences in life," he says. "Sometimes, it doesn't matter how beautiful the problem is — you have to get rid of it."


Four days after Caminero's arrest, three dozen friends and fellow artists packed the Art Place on NW 27th Street in Wynwood. But the man of the hour was not among them. Earlier in the week, Caminero had canceled a news conference on the advice of his lawyer. Tonight, he was again a no-show. In his absence, friends and fellow artists fought over why he had broken the urn and what it meant for Miami.

"To say that this was an act of jealousy is ridiculous," Danilo Gonzalez, the host and owner of the Art Place, announced from behind a podium. "However, we should take this opportunity to discuss what many of us, including Máximo Caminero, have been struggling with here in Miami, where large institutions like Art Basel come in and ignore the local talents."

Some in the crowd cooed approvingly. But others scrunched their eyes in confusion. "It's bullshit," one artist said. "Just look at the timing of it. Máximo was excluded from Art Wynwood; then he goes and does this."

Caminero's protest ignited outrage around the world, but nowhere did it sow more discord than among artists in Miami. Some, like Gonzalez, saw in Caminero a reflection of their own causes célèbres. But many still considered Caminero's actions a sad and desperate stunt.

What's clear is that though most disparage what he did, Caminero isn't the only artist complaining about exclusive museums and extortionary galleries. Many believe that Art Basel — with its celebrity collectors and paparazzi coverage — does the local art scene as much damage as good. Miami's name might be bandied around with art meccas like New York, L.A., and Basel, Switzerland, they argue, but the city is actually leaving its own local artists behind.

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31 comments
John Wilson
John Wilson

florida is all about making stupid people famous

Lon Allen
Lon Allen

Not sure what the big deal is. He followed in Ai Weiwei steps. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I can't image the Han Dynasty artist would be all that impressed with Weiwei.

Naomi Preston
Naomi Preston

This is prob one of the most well written articles put out by the New times in a long time. The subject matter wasn't worth the cyber ink but still a well written article, finally.

Alex Maciel
Alex Maciel

Not saying he was asking for it, but I would feel more sympathetic for the artist if he wasn't actually smashing a vase in his display

WhyNotNow
WhyNotNow topcommenter

Ai weiwei's father was jailed for political dissidence also. I think he and Caminero's story have other similarities. However, Jorge Perez has done more damage to MAM than anybody.

Vince Witty
Vince Witty

Its clearly destruction of property regardless of whatever he meant. He said "bla bla we dont support local artists" it doesnt make it ok to destroy this artwork

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................i guess the appropriate "penalty" would be for someone to bust up art created by CAMINERO equal to the market value of the vase he broke

this would be a win-win because that probably would include ALL of that clowns "art", so its gone, ending the quest to be "seen",  and then CAMINERO could take a full-time J O B at Flanigans washing dishes,  as his fifteen-minutes of fame is now over

any other clowns would see that their crap will be trashed if they get any ideas about being copy-cat vandals for the attention

typical of hispanics is to act before thinking which is why to date most 'revolutions" don't work for them and this stunt won't work for CAMINERO either

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..............................................in the end all art is strange

6785679900
6785679900

Caminero is the typical frustrated and neurotic artist whose arrogance deluded him into thinking that the quality of his pieces where at the same level of those shown in a museum like PAMM. Furthermore, it is more than obvious that he has no idea what the rules of performative art are nor the context in which it can be claimed that ones work is so. Meaning that his claim that he was just engaging in his own performance art is absolute BS. It might have been less offensive to those with a brain if he had stated he was protesting PAMM being named after some cheesy developer who donated money in exchange for an ego appeaser. He might as well stated he didn't know what got over him, or even that he just thinks Ai Wei Wei's work is a piece of shit and he thus gave it the appropriate treatment. But that is not what he claimed. He stated that he was protesting that the museum had the temerity of showing the artwork of a Chinese citizen as opposed to a "Miamian." So with these statements he revealed himself to be xenophobic and pretty unintelligent, as he is DOMINICAN, born and raised, so his demands for local art to be displayed (which in this case clearly means HIS work) in the museum are moot. I feel bad for his daughters as the guy is not only mediocre, but pretentious and arrogant too. 


Terence R Waldron
Terence R Waldron

Dat shit ain't art. And who'd he sleep with to get the entire second floor of our museum? That stuff isn't permanent, I hope.

DaniloGonzalez
DaniloGonzalez

@MikeMillerMiami Bravo! This is a very interesting article that brings to light the many perspectives of this event that until now have been ignored. It is obvious that you took the time to make extensive research while not becoming partial to any sector. Thank you for bringing to this conversation diversity and rich historical values. It is impossible to please everyone and besides, that is not your job as a journalist. I would like to challenge the public to take this opportunity to learn instead of passing the blame.

Lourdes Diaz
Lourdes Diaz

Sarah Green - Weiwei doesnt need someone like Caminero to call "attention" to him. He is an internationally known artist who exhibits worldwide. The reason that he cant leave his town is that he is a human rights activist who is under house arrest. There is a whole documentary on it, as well as worldwide magazine covers, TV and radio broadcasts. Weiwei doesnt need this kind of foolish attention.

Sarah Green
Sarah Green

New times, I wonder if you've heard the rumors that the pot smashing was an intentional attention calling to Weiwei and his work. You call him one of the most famous artists in the world but I'd never heard of him until this incident. As a "political dissident" in China, apparently he can't even leave his town without special permission from the Chinese government. And he certainly cannot leave the country. Perhaps this newfound attention has lubricated his situation at home a bit...

Eddy Earthtone Blak
Eddy Earthtone Blak

Then I stand corrected, NewTimes: the all seeing eye of South FL. I just feel this guys frustrations.. Thanks for responding back, glad you guys could "fit it in".....

Alexander Fernandez
Alexander Fernandez

Caminero won; way too much attention being paid to him. Btw, New Times, the great local artist of international renown is Jose Bédia. Badía is a brand of comestible herbs and spices

Miami New Times
Miami New Times

Eddy, you obviously haven't read the article to understand the headline. It makes it very clear what we mean.

Eddy Earthtone Blak
Eddy Earthtone Blak

"Attack on the Miami Art World?" Hey, uh.. Newtimes, tell whoever is calling the shots down there to lay off the PCP pipe. As a hardworking artist and a friend of a lot of talented hardworking individuals in this city I'm here to say that I wouldn't accept this shit as a worthy representation of Miami's art scene even if you payed me to. This "artist" should be reigned upon with shame for having the pebbles to think pots dipped in paint is work a Million smackers. I could smear shit on a wall and it would be more tasteful then this "shit", no pun intended.....

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

"His protest also illustrated the real plight of local artists, who claim that the billions spent here during Art Basel and other fairs don't trickle down to those who need it most"

The solution is simple......DON'T SUCK!

Just because you call yourself an artist doesn't mean you are one or any good.  Deal with it.

Now toss this A-hole in jail and stop defending him.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................since when do these foreigners claim MIAMI as their own except when they feel they aren't getting their share of the AMERICAN PIE

they don't even have the proper respect for our language - which is ENGLISH - yet want every advantage and benefit the US can offer

maybe someday they will all go home to their own country and we can once again claim MIAMI for AMERICA = period

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@MikeMillerMiami @Anthonyvop1Of course you are defending him.

Do you write feature articles about vandals who smash a window?

He is no better than some jealous, lazy, entitlement trash who vandalizes property in a jealous, ignorant, anger.  You are providing a platform which is tantamount to endorsing his actions which are indefensible.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@JoseDuran @Anthonyvop1We all know why he did it.

He is a self-absorbed, publicity seeking, spoiled brat.

And this article is exactly what he wanted.

JoseDuran
JoseDuran moderator communitymanagertopcommenter

@Anthonyvop1  Defending his actions and trying to find out why he did what he did is completely different. Please, stop trolling.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@MikeMillerMiami @Anthonyvop1 

To single him out for a feature article is to defend him and give his hatred a platform.

You are more than welcome to write about him but do not for a moment insult the reader's intelligence by claiming you are not defending his actions.

 
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