The Ryan Foundation apologises to KAWS:Holiday organiser after causing exhibition to halt last year

Case closed.

Mandy How | September 26, 2022, 12:00 PM

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Almost a year after the fiasco, The Ryan Foundation (TRF) has apologised to AllRightsReserved (ARR) over the KAWS:Holiday event at Marina Bay.

Who and what, you ask

If you recall, an exhibition with a 42m-long KAWS sculpture landed in Singapore on Nov. 13, 2021.

Alas, on the day of its opening, it was ordered via a court injunction to immediately halt the display.

TRF, a non-profit art organisation in Singapore, had accused ARR, the organiser of the exhibition, of breaching intellectual property rights and misuse of confidential information.

Ryan Su, the founder of TRF, then told Zaobao that his company had gone to Hong Kong in 2019 to discuss with ARR the possibility of holding the exhibition in Singapore, but negotiations eventually fell through.

In the process, however, TRF had apparently handed over information, which they claimed was later used by ARR.

ARR sues for defamation

Shortly after, the court discharged the injunction, and the exhibition reopened on Nov. 16, 2021.

TRF was also ordered to pay ARR the legal costs.

ARR subsequently sued TRF and its founders for defamation.

Back to the present

On Sep. 26, 2022, ARR announced to the media that they have achieved a "satisfactory settlement" in their disputes with TRF.

TRF has confirmed that its prior allegations were "incorrect" and apologised for any embarrassment and/or distress that their allegations may have caused to ARR, an attached letter read.

ARR continued to thank contemporary artist KAWS, whom they called a "long-time collaborator," and they also expressed gratitude to their friends, partners, and legal team.

"We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and colossal support for the exhibition from the most affectionate Singaporeans. We hope to return to the city and meet you all very soon."

An olive branch?

TRF has released a statement of its own, saying that they wish ARR "the very best" by "extending an olive branch".

The organisation added that it has decided to focus its energies and resources on developing new exhibitions for the public, free of charge as they have always been.

"We thank our friends, collaborators and stakeholders who supported us in these discussions and who continue to believe in the work of small arts organisations like ours," the statement read.

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Top photos by Jerry T (@j9ryl) and RK (@rkrkrk).