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Ryan Foundation Apologizes, End Legal Dispute With KAWS Exhibition

After months of legal dispute over copyright infringement, Singapore-based Ryan Foundation has backtracked and apologized to the KAWS Exhibition.

The long legal battle began first in November last year when Hong Kong-based studio AllRights Reserved (ARR) organized a KAWS exhibition in Singapore. Titled “KAWS: Holiday Singapore”, the exhibition was supposed to be hosted at the city’s waterfront by Marina Bay. However, the Ryan Foundation – which is a non-profit art development group based in Singapore – filed an injunction against ARR to stop the exhibition.

Vistors outside KAWS: Holiday Singapore

The injunction was filed by Ryan Su and Adrian Chu, founders of the foundation and prominent art collectors in Singapore. The duo – who were supposedly a part of the exhibition’s planning – claimed that ARR had violated the foundation’s intellectual property rights as well as breached confidential information. The injunction stopped the installation of the giant “Companion” sculpture by KAWS as well as stopped all sales of tickets and merchandise (which began selling in 2018). However, the injunction was overturned mere 2 days later after ARR presented its arguments in court. The exhibition was held as usual, but the legal dispute between the 2 parties continued.

Now, an out-of-court settlement between the two parties resulted in ARR dropping its defamation countersuit against Ryan Foundation, while the latter agreed to issue a formal apology. The apology read: “ARR had the right to organize and conduct the Exhibition in Singapore. We apologize for any embarrassment and/or distress that the Allegations have caused to ARR and its officers.”

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The statement was shared by S.K. Lam (Creative Director & Curatore, ARR) on his social media handle. He also added a caption: “Although the exhibition was once interrupted, we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and colossal support for the Exhibition from the most affectionate Singaporeans & all supporters. We hope to return to the city and meet you all very soon.”

Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS, issued no statement about the settlement.