KAWS:Holiday at Marina Bay ordered by court to halt exhibition

The organisers were accused of breaching intellectual property rights.

Kayla Wong | November 13, 2021, 07:55 PM

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The KAWS:Holiday exhibition was halted on Saturday, Nov. 13, at around 4:45pm after a court injunction ordered the artwork's display to be suspended immediately, Lianhe Zaobao reported.

In addition, according to the court order, the sale and distribution of merchandise related to the exhibition, as well as all promotional activities, had to be halted too.

The court injunction was obtained by local non-profit organisation The Ryan Foundation (TRF), which accused the organiser, Hong Kong-based creative agency AllRightsReserved (ARR), of breaching intellectual property rights and misuse of confidential information.

TRF's accusations

TRF founder Ryan Su, who's a lawyer and an art collector, told Zaobao that court injunctions targeting art exhibitions are "rather rare", and that this might be the first time it has happened in Singapore.

He further claimed that TRF had already gone to Hong Kong in 2019 to discuss with ARR the possibility of holding the exhibition in Singapore, and had handed over certain contents and details, even contacting other units that might be taking part in the organisation, including Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

However, although negotiations broke down eventually, the contents of the exhibition today were allegedly similar to what TRF sent over in the past, Su said.

TRF's director, Adrian Chan, further told Zaobao that he felt disappointed that multiple parties had continued to take part in the event despite knowing that intellectual property has been breached and confidential information has been misused.

He added that TRF will continue to file legal proceedings against ARR.

Organiser refutes allegations

Replying to Mothership's queries, Hong Kong-based creative agency ARR said that the allegations made were groundless, and that they are in the process of seeking legal advice.

"In relation to the recent groundless allegations made by a third party who attempted to cause interruption to the KAWS:HOLIDAY SINGAPORE exhibition, our company is in the process of seeking urgent legal advice and will apply to court to challenge the prohibitory injunction order.

Our company takes this incident very seriously and will take all possible steps to ensure that this exhibition can progress in accordance with the laws of Singapore. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

STB says that they are "aware of the court injunction against AllRightsReserved (ARR), and we understand the organisers are exploring all options".

KAWS: Holiday was supposed to be on display at The Float @ Marina Bay from Nov. 13 to Nov. 21.

The exhibition, which was supported by STB, opened to VIPs on Nov. 13, and would have opened to the public on Nov. 14.

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Top image by @rkrkrk & @yk via AllRightsReserved