A Brief History of Vandalizing Art [slide show]

This Sunday the work of Ai Wei Wei became the latest high-profile work of art to gain inclusion to a list most artists would rather avoid.  Miami artist Maximo Caminero intentionally smashed one of Ai Wei Wei’s Colored Vases being exhibited at the Perez Art Museum Miami.  The destroyed vase had an estimated value of $1 million.  Caminero cited a lack of attention and support for local artists from PAMM (and an ignorance of the vase’s value) as the reason for destroying the artwork.

Caminero’s act of protest/vandalism played out much like this sort of situation typically does.  The destructive act is followed by our collective gasp.  This in turn is followed by the vandal’s weirdo-political reasoning, which prompts outrage, rebuke, and calls of “We shouldn’t be giving this guy attention – it’s what he wants!”  However, I’m not so sure that last part is the best idea – attempting to understand what happened seems more prudent than ignoring it.  I suspect due consideration of such vandalism would yield interesting and perhaps important ideas.  Psychologically speaking, how is vandalizing a work of art similar to owning it?  How do conceptions of private property or fame play into a desire to vandalize art?  Why vandalize art rather than some other highly visible object?  Click on any of the images below to start the slide show of other modern-day instances of art vandalism and be sure to let us know what you think.