Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday was taking in stride the Chinese rip-off of Chicago’s “Cloud Gate” sculpture, even using it to try to drum up tourism business.
“’Imitation is the greatest form of flattery’ is what I would say. And if you want to see original artwork like this or like the Bean, you come to Chicago,” Emanuel said.
The mayor wasn’t all worked up about the replica as he joined teenagers on Wednesday participating in the city’s summer jobs program by painting a house on the 6400 block of South Wood Street in Englewood.
Renowned artist Anish Kapoor, though, was outraged about the appearance of a sculpture in China that appears identical to his “Cloud Gate.”
Reports in China, including one from state-run media People’s Daily, say a “stainless steel sculpture in the shape of an oil bubble” will be unveiled later this month in Karamay, a city in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang known for its rich oil fields. Work on the sculpture began in 2013 at the site of the city’s first oil well.
Representatives of the British-Indian sculptor said Wednesday he was shocked at the “blatant plagiarism” of his sculpture, a giant, mirrored piece displayed in Millennium Park that reflects the city’s skyline.
The reports carried photographs of the Chinese sculpture, which resembles Kapoor’s. It was not immediately known who created the Chinese “oil bubble.”
In a statement Wednesday, Kapoor said he wanted to “take this to the highest level and pursue those responsible in the courts.”
“It seems that in China today it is permissible to steal the creativity of others,” he said. “I hope that the mayor of Chicago will join me in this action. The Chinese authorities must act to stop this kind of infringement and allow the full enforcement of copyright.”
Emanuel, though, declined Wednesday to say whether he’d join in any legal action.
Many Chinese people have bemoaned the prevalent plagiarism in their country — even for high-profile projects.
One of the official songs for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in China, has been criticized for its similarity to “Let it Go,” the hit song from the Disney film “Frozen.”
Contributing: Fran Spielman, AP