Officials in Karamay, China, have not announced plans to remove a blatant copy of Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate” that opens to the public this month, which means “Cloud Gate”–gate is far from over. Kapoor has expressed outrage over this outright display of plagiarism — which the sculpture’s commissioner denies — but he is now also frustrated with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who does not seem too concerned about the Chinese knockoff.
Kapoor’s initial statement, which called for “full enforcement of copyright,” also urged Emanuel to join him in his pursuit of justice; the mayor, however, seems more inclined to promote his city’s cultural gems.
“‘Imitation is the greatest form of flattery’ is what I would say,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “And if you want to see original artwork like this or like the Bean, you come to Chicago.”
Far from satisfied with this response, Kapoor penned an open letter to Emanuel that expressed shock at the mayor’s blasé attitude towards the controversy. He delivered it to local publications yesterday:
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
Emanuel, probably occupied with his mayoral duties, has yet to issue another response. Perhaps Kapoor could successfully persuade him to join the fight against plagiarism by rallying a crowd of protestors to storm the Mayor’s office and deliver the message Gangnam Style.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.