By Jonathan Stempel
The British sculptor Anish Kapoor sued the National Rifle Association of America on Tuesday, accusing it of using his “Cloud Gate” sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park in a recruiting video without permission
Kapoor filed his copyright infringement lawsuit three months after issuing an open letter decrying the 2017 video, “The Clenched Fist of Truth,” as an effort to “whip up fear and hate” and saying the NRA’s “nightmarish, intolerant, divisive vision perverts everything that Cloud Gate – and America – stands for.”
The NRA had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, which was filed with the U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Kapoor is seeking compensatory damages, plus $150,000 for each instance of willful infringement.
The video was narrated by NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, and its targets include media, schools and Hollywood, among others.
It accused critics of encouraging protests to “bully and terrorize” law-abiding people, and said they can “fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.”
“Cloud Gate” is shown over a passage where Loesch accused critics of using their “ex-president,” appearing to refer to former U.S. President Barack Obama, to “endorse the resistance.”
Known colloquially as “The Bean,” the Indian-born Kapoor’s mirrored “Cloud Gate” has become a major tourist destination since its 2006 installation.
Chicago’s downtown also houses outdoor works from Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso, among other artists.
Kapoor, 64, said in a statement that since publishing his letter, he had been overwhelmed by support from people also opposed to the NRA’s “divisive and hate-filled campaign” against the American people’s “democratic and humane” values.
“In light of this solidarity and support I am encouraged to confront this organization and hold it to account for its blatant copyright infringement,” Kapoor said.
The case is Kapoor v National Rifle Association of America, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 18-04252.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Diane Craft)