By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
By Travis Cohen
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Monica McGivern
By Travis Cohen
They have a point. Of the 258 galleries at last year's Art Basel, only two — Spinello Projects and Fredric Snitzer Gallery — were local. And for every success story like Agustina Woodgate — featured at last year's Basel — there are hundreds of local artists who must fight for spots at satellite fairs or be left out.
In 2012, a half-dozen top local artists defected together to Los Angeles, including Jen Stark and the acclaimed collective known as FriendsWithYou. "We love Miami, but collectors here just don't support our work," Samuel Borkson, part of FriendsWithYou, said at the time. "The move is about being in a place where we can be part of a movement, where more money is invested in culture, and we will be more nurtured by people to continue making art that impacts others' lives."
Last year, celebrities, art speculators, and serious investors dropped more than a half-billion dollars at Art Basel. But just a fraction of that went to local artists. Between the two of them, Spinello and Snitzer had space for only a dozen local artists.
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That's why some of them claim it was about time someone spoke up — or lashed out. "I support what Máximo did," says Emilio Martínez, a Guatemalan-American artist. "The galleries are as dirty as they can be. They take advantage of artists."
But even those who feel Caminero's message criticize his medium for expressing it. "The fact that he picked up a million-dollar vase and dropped it on the ground, that takes balls," admits Bert Rodriguez, another Miami-bred A-list artist who left for L.A. last year. "But it's kind of like suicide: It's a brave act and a cowardly act at the same time... I've been where he's at. I'm still there. Every artist is frustrated. But what he did was more ego-driven than altruistic."
Besides, local gallery owners dispute the idea that the deck is stacked against locals like Caminero. "This guy is off his rocker completely," Fred Snitzer says. "The whole idea of local disenfranchised artists with gripes, it's sort of like saying that if your kid can't get into Harvard, it must be Harvard's fault. Most of the time if your kid can't get into Harvard, your kid isn't good enough."
The issue is simpler, he says. "Good artists get shown and good artists sell, and bad artists don't. There is no indication this guy is a good artist. I hope he doesn't come and blow me up for saying that."
Much of the dissent in the art world centers on PAMM, a public art museum built with $130 million from taxpayers but named after a private real estate developer. Critics worried that the collection of this architectural marvel wouldn't live up to its new environs. So it was no surprise that the museum's curators brought in the big guns — perhaps the world's most popular artist, Ai Weiwei — to christen its opening during Art Basel in December.
But Snitzer, Rodriguez, and others say PAMM does plenty to support Miamians. A spokeswoman for PAMM declined to comment for this article but listed several Miami artists currently on display in the museum, including a solo show for Edouard Duval-Carrié. In fact, Duval-Carrié once shared a studio with Caminero. Even he says his fellow artist's act of protest did more harm than good.
"My biggest fear is that his act will jeopardize the relationship between the public and the art," he told New Times ahead of his show. "I hope PAMM won't be forced to place a security guard in front of every piece on display because of one individual's misguided actions."
By far the most common complaint other artists have about Caminero is that his protest was misdirected.
"Smashing or defacing someone's work is a line in the sand for me," says Dan Milewski. "There's lots of work that I don't like, approve of, or agree with, and I'm certainly concerned about the state of the art world and the market forces that surround it, but I personally would never destroy another artist's work."
Yet the turnout in Wynwood at Danilo Gonzalez's studio in the days after the protest makes it clear that Caminero's actions — right or wrong — have struck a chord. Martínez, for one, claims Caminero's critics "are still hoping for a show at the Pérez Art Museum" and "don't have the balls to do what Máximo did."
Local art scholar Babacar M'Bow says all of these arguments miss the bigger point. Caminero's protest poses deeper challenges for the museum and for Miami, he says. Instead of pressing charges, PAMM should hold panel discussions on the urn-breaking incident.
"We want art in Miami, but we don't want the controversy surrounding it," M'Bow says. "We have to look at this event in the context of Miami rising as a new international center. This incident is the price the city is paying."
"Buenas noches," Máximo Caminero greets a visitor from behind thick metal bars. But he's not in prison — at least, not yet. Instead, he's standing inside his studio, smack dab in the middle of Miami's MiMo red-light district. It's just after nightfall, and busty women in high heels are already standing on Biscayne Boulevard, scouting for johns.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
...................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
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.
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.
@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.
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.
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...
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".....
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
Eddy, you obviously haven't read the article to understand the headline. It makes it very clear what we mean.
"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.....
"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.
.................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 Please read the whole feature. There is plenty of criticism. We aren't blindly 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 Defending his actions and trying to find out why he did what he did is completely different. Please, stop trolling.
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.