Artist Anish Kapoor today blasted the National Rifle Association in an open letter in collaboration with the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. Specifically, he slammed the NRA for appropriating the image of his famed Chicago sculpture , affectionately dubbed “The Bean,” that sits in Millennium Park, where it was installed in 2004.
Kapoor said the NRA used an image of the work—which shows the bean and a surrounding crowd in the plaza—without his consent in a “politicised advertisement” called the “The Clenched Fist of Truth.” In his letter, Kapoor says the ad “plays to the basest and most primal impulses of paranoia, conflict and violence, and uses them in an effort to create a schism to justify its most regressive attitudes.” The artist added that he was “disgusted” to see his work used by the NRA “to promote their vile message.”
In the wake of recent shootings in Florida, Las Vegas, and Texas, Kapoor said that it is “more urgent than ever that this organization is held to account for its ongoing campaign of fear and hate in American society.”
The advertisement in question is a one-minute video available on the NRA website, featuring national spokesperson Dana Loesch. As Loesch speaks, images flash across the screen in black-and-white showing crowds in time-lapsed movement. One of these is Kapoor’s ‘Cloud Gate’ with people shown in stop-motion moving around it. Another shows the Hollywood sign, as Loesch speaks about an unidentified “They,” who, she says, “use their media to assassinate real news,” “use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler,” “use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again,” and “use their ex-president to endorse the Resistance.”
Loesch ends by stating: “I’m the NRA,” and calling the gun lobbying organization “Freedom’s safest place.”
Kapoor begs to differ, writing that the NRA video “gives voice to xenophobic anxiety, and a further call to ‘arm’ the population against a fictional enemy.”
The complete letter is below: