Artist Slams Use of ‘Bean’ Sculpture in NRA Video

CHICAGO (CN) – The artist who created the iconic piece claims “The Bean” sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park was used without permission in a National Rifle Association recruitment video that he says calls for violence against liberals and the news media.

Anish Kapoor of London says he was “shocked and outraged” when he learned that his 2006 sculpture “Cloud Gate,” also commonly referred to as “The Bean,” was being used in a video produced by the NRA.

Kapoor filed a lawsuit against the NRA in Chicago federal court on Tuesday, alleging copyright infringement. He is represented by Jeffrey Becker with Swanson, Martin & Bell LLP in Chicago.

According to the complaint, the NRA’s video ad entitled “The Clenched Fist of Truth,” or “The Violence of Lies,” denounces the media and the “liberal agenda.”

On June 29, 2017, the video was first broadcast on TV and on the internet for recruiting purposes, the complaint states. A black and white image of “Cloud Gate” is shown at about the 17-second mark, Kapoor says, during a passage where the narrator accuses NRA opponents of using their “ex-president” – presumably Barack Obama, of Chicago – to “endorse the resistance.”

The lawsuit says the video “warns of civil unrest and violence, and states that the only way to save ‘our’ country from the ‘lies’ of the liberal media and the ‘liberal agenda’ is with the ‘clenched fist of truth,’ i.e., with guns.”

“It is a clear call to armed violence against liberals and the media,” the complaint states.

Kapoor says he began the process of building the sculpture in 1999 and it took him six years to finish. “Cloud Gate” was installed in Millennium Park in 2006. He registered “Cloud Gate” with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2016, the complaint states.

The artist released a statement in March, in conjunction with the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, condemning the use of “Cloud Gate” in the NRA video and saying his creative work had been used by the gun organization to perpetuate “its hateful ideology.”

In a new statement released Tuesday, Kapoor said the ad “seeks to whip up fear and hate.”

“It plays to the basest and most primal impulses of paranoia, conflict and violence, and uses them in an effort to create a schism to justify its most regressive attitudes,” he said. “Hidden here is a need to believe in a threatening ‘other’ different from ourselves…The NRA’s video gives voice to xenophobic anxiety, and a further call to ‘arm’ the population against a fictional enemy.”

Kapoor claims he asked the NRA to remove “Cloud Gate” from the video, but the organization refused.

He seeks $150,000 in damages for willful copyright infringement.

After filing his lawsuit, Kapoor said, “These sadly are times in which it is urgent for us all, in whatever way we can, to stand up to the dark and aggressive forces in society that seek, out of fear and hatred, to lead us backward into a primitive, paranoid, and defensive worldview.”

The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.

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