Ai Weiwei's "Dropping a Han-Dynasty Urn" (1995)
gif by Grayson Earle
On Sunday, February 16, Maximo Caminero smashed a colored vase that is part of Ai Weiwei
's "Colored Vases" project. This particular urn had been valued at approximately $1 million USD. He told reporters on the scene that he was inspired by Weiwei's earlier work "Dropping a Han-Dynasty Urn" in which the artist drops a two thousand year old cultural artifact in an attempt to elucidate the role of destruction in art and culture.
Three days later Ai responded to the incident: "Damaging other people’s property or disturbing a public program doesn’t really support his cause." Many art theorists are left to wonder if Weiwei ought to have exclusive rights to art vandalism, or if the culturally situated context is significantly different in each instance to grant Ai's position.
And finally, we know that Ai takes issue with the destruction of his art [property], but how does he feel about intellectual property? Would Ai take offense to the destruction of digital representations of his work, or is it the loss of material, valuable property that provoked his response?
Oh right, this is a project by Grayson Earle