‘Blatant Plagiarism': Sculpture in China Criticized Over Similarity to Chicago's ‘Cloud Gate'

There’s a new sculpture in China and it might look a bit familiar to some Chicagoans.

China’s state-run media reported the installation of a “stainless steel sculpture in the shape of an oil bubble” in Karamay, a city in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang.

People’s Daily, which posted photos of the structure, reported work started on the sculpture in 2013 at the site of the first oil well in Karamay. It is expected to be completed at the end of this month.

“Cloud Gate” in Chicago's Millennium Park was designed by artist Anish Kapoor and opened to the public in 2006. 

The 110-ton elliptical sculpture, also known as The Bean, reflects Chicago’s skyline and the clouds above it. It was inspired by liquid mercury, according to the city. 

Representatives of the British-Indian sculptor say he was shocked at the "blatant plagiarism" of his sculpture.

In a statement Wednesday, Kapoor said he wanted to sue those responsible.

"The Chinese authorities must act to stop this kind of infringement," he said. 

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time, Ma Jun, the planning and construction-management section chief of Karamay’s Tourism Bureau, said the artist creating the “bubble” is Chinese. He also noted that the similarity between the sculpture and Cloud Gate is coincidental.

Ma Jun told the publication the meanings behind the sculptures are different, noting the bubble is intended to resemble an oil bubble from a natural oil well in Karamay. He said, “you can’t say we’re not allowed to build a round sculpture because there already is a round one.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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