A couple of days ago, we wrote about a controversy that was raised about a sculpture in the northwestern Chinese City of Karamay that is remarkably similar to the famous Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture in the city of Chicago. Kapoor immediately reacted, threatening to take legal actions against those responsible for what appears to be a pure case of plagiarism (the artist’s works had already been a subject of controversies this year; just to mention his vagina sculpture in Versailles).
Therefore, Kapoor wrote a letter to Chicago mayor.
Although there are some differences between the original sculpture by Anish Kapoor in Chicago and the newly erected sculpture in Karamay (i.e. there are some differences in design), it is quite obvious that the sculpture in this Chinese town represents a blatant copy of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. The Cloud Gate (commonly known as the The Bean) is not only one of the most-known masterpieces by brilliant Kapoor, it is also one of Chicago’s main cultural heritages today. It was logical to expect a reaction from Chicago mayor’s office as well.
Chicago mayor, Mr. Emanuel does not seem too concerned about this case of plagiarism. In his statement to the Chicago Sun-Times, he told that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Chicago mayor added that if someone wants to see an original work, than he/she should come to Chicago. However, Anish Kapoor expected stronger reaction from city’s authorities.
Indeed, the Chicago mayor’s reaction seemed too mildly. First, it’s not just a case of imitation; it’s about plagiarism of an original piece of art. Secondly, it’s difficult to imagine that a flattery can be shown by plagiarizing a piece of art. Finally, Kapoor himself explained everything in his open letter that he delivered to Chicago’s local publications.
Anish Kapoor letter to Chicago mayor could be understood as an appeal of an artist for solidarity in the case of pure plagiarism. It is a statement against copyright infringement, and a statement in defense of artists’ basic rights. Finally, it concerns the city of Chicago as well. The artist explained everything in his letter to Mr. Emanuel:
I feel myself to be an honorary citizen of your great city of Chicago. Cloud Gate, nicknamed The Bean, has been a major feature of Chicago’s landscape for over a decade and has helped keep in view Chicago’s vision of itself as the most modern city in America, if not the world.
I am therefore astonished at your statements about the Chinese copy of the sculpture Cloud Gate as that of an act of flattery. I urge you to stand by my side and fight plagiarism. I feel compelled to ask what other businesses and innovators from Chicago have had their copyrighted material stolen in a similar way? Will you call this flattery, too?
Creativity in all walks of life is hard won. It is incorrect to accept that we should allow for it to be undermined or stolen and therefore give it little or no value. Chicago will lose from this thievery. We cannot let this happen.
13 August, 2015
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Featured Image: Cloud Gate (courtesy of fineartamerica.com)
All images used for illustrative purposes only.