Anish Kapoor Declares ‘Victory Over the NRA’ in a Settlement That Requires the Gun Group to Remove His Art From an Ad

The artist sued the National Rifle Association in June over its 'Clenched Fist of Truth' video.

Artist Anish Kapoor attends the unveiling of his art installation, titled Descension, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, May 3, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
Artist Anish Kapoor attends the unveiling of his art installation, titled Descension, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, May 3, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Anish Kapoor has reached an out-of-court settlement with the National Rifle Association to end a copyright infringement lawsuit he brought against the gun advocacy group in June over the unauthorized inclusion of his artwork Cloud Gate (2006) in an anti-gun control TV ad.

In a statement issued on Thursday announcing “victory over the NRA,” Kapoor said the NRA finally agreed to remove the image of his work from the video. “They have now complied with our demand to remove the unauthorized image of my sculpture Cloud Gate from their abhorrent video, which seeks to promote fear, hostility, and division in American society.”

The lawsuit relates to a one-minute promotional video released by the NRA in August 2017 called “The Clenched Fist of Truth,” that featured a number of American landmarks, including an image of Kapoor’s monumental sculpture, better known as “the bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park. It was widely debated at the time of its release for its extremist rhetoric.

After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in March, the sculptor asked the NRA to remove his artwork from the video and published a scathing open letter accusing the lobbyists of seeking to “whip up fear and hate.” The letter said, “I am disgusted to see my work—in truth the sculpture of the people of Chicago—used by the NRA to promote their vile message.”

Screenshot of Anish Kapoor's <em>Cloudgate</em> in the NRA's "Clenched Fist of Truth" video.

Screenshot of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in the NRA’s “Clenched Fist of Truth” video.

In June, after the organization refused to comply with the artist’s demand, Kapoor filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeking $150,000 per infringement and attorneys fees, an injunction to stop the NRA from running the ad, and a share of donations and fees from new members recruited as a result of the video.

Kapoor’s statement today mentions removing the specific image of his work from the ad, but makes no reference to any of the other demands. It does “urge” the NRA to donate $1 million to charities supporting victims of gun violence. (As of now, the original “Clenched Fist of Truth” ad, featuring Cloud Gate, remains widely available online.)

“Their bullying and intimidation has not succeeded.” Kapoor said. “This is a victory not just in defense of the copyright of my work, but it is also a declaration that we stand with those who oppose gun violence in America and elsewhere. The NRA will not be allowed to use art in support of their propaganda.”

Read the full statement from Kapoor, below:

We are pleased to declare victory over the NRA. They have now complied with our demand to remove the unauthorised image of my sculpture Cloud Gate from their abhorrent video “The Violence of Lies”, which seeks to promote fear, hostility and division in American society.

Their bullying and intimidation has not succeeded.

This is a victory not just in defence of the copyright of my work, but it is also a declaration that we stand with those who oppose gun violence in America and elsewhere.

The NRA will not be allowed to use art in support of their propaganda.

Their toxic video called for the “clenched fist of truth”.

We in our turn call for the clenched fist of resistance, solidarity and humanity.

I invite the NRA to do the honourable thing and donate $1 million to the victims of gun violence in America through charities such as Every Town for Gun Safety, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Giffords, The Brady Campaign, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

We would like to thank the legal teams for their pro bono work on this important case:
Nicholas Carlin, Jake Feaver and David Given of Phillips, Erlewine, Given & Carlin LLP
John Charles Thomas of Stout Thomas & Johnson.
Simon Frankel, Justin Ganderson and Christina Copsey of Covington & Burling LLP
Jeffrey S. Becker


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