Kaws exhibition organiser gets apology from The Ryan Foundation, dispute settled

Visitors wearing face masks at the Kaws: Holiday Singapore exhibition in Singapore in 2021. (Getty Images file photo)
Kaws: Holiday Singapore exhibition in Singapore in 2021. (Getty Images file photo)

SINGAPORE — The organiser behind an exhibition by American artist Kaws in Singapore on Monday (26 September) said that it has reached a "satisfactory settlement" over its disputes against a non-profit art group.

Hong Kong-based AllRightsReserved (ARR) added in its media release that The Ryan Foundation (TRF) and its founders Ryan Su and Adrian Chan had signed a statement with an apology to ARR regarding the Kaws: Holiday Singapore exhibition held last year. Both companies went through a mediation last Wednesday.

In the statement dated 23 September and attached with ARR's release, the TRF founders apologised for any "embarrassment and/or distress that the allegations have caused to ARR and its officers".

In it, Su and Chan also confirmed and acknowledged that the allegations made against ARR were incorrect and that ARR had the right to organise and conduct the exhibition in Singapore.

ARR and TRF had been discussing to bring the Kaws: Holiday Singapore exhibition to Singapore in 2019, but their talks fell apart.

The exhibition at The Float @ Marina Bay featured a 42m-long inflatable artwork by Kaws – whose real name is Brian Donnelly – and is based on his signature Companion character. Singapore was the seventh stop on the exhibition's world tour, which began in Seoul in 2018.

A day before its public opening in November last year, TRF served an interim injunction order to ARR, calling for a halt to the exhibition, its merchandise sales, event publicity and advertising.

The event reopened on the third day of a planned eight-day run after a court lifted the injunction order. The court also ordered that there be an inquiry regarding the damages sustained by ARR arising from the injunction order.

"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," said ARR in its media release.

In a separate statement, TRF said it will focus on developing new and free exhibitions, and increasing arts awareness.

"This is our priority. We look forward to our new and exciting exhibitions in 2023," it added.

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