The exhibition featuring counterfeit works by Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami has been touring China since April 2018.
China is known for producing counterfeit items, creating fake Apple stores—and now Yayoi Kusama and Takashi Murakami, two of the most prominent contemporary Asian artists, are considering legal action after an exhibition supposedly featuring both of their works planned to open in Shanghai.
According to The Japan Times, the exhibition was in the process of touring the country, with six locations—including Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Changsha—in China already hosting it since April 2018. Yayoi Kusama’s exhibitions are an Instagrammer’s idea of heaven, with long lines and waiting times for those eagerly anticipating the chance to take a selfie inside of one of Kusama’s famed Infinity Rooms.
When the show opened in Shanghai, the artists’ lawyers immediately closed it down. As reported by NHK Japan, Kusama‘s lawyer Yoshifumi Onodera said that they sent a warning ahead of the Shanghai opening and that a similar occurrence happened earlier this month, leading to another exhibition including fake artworks to be shut down.
Now, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, both artists are considering suing the organizations, on both civil and criminal fronts, stating a violation of copyright and several other Chinese laws.
The sharp move to shut down the fake fiasco may have something to do with the fact that both artists are about to launch prominent solo shows in the city. On November 7 Kusama’s show The Longing For My Love All Began From My Heart will open at Ota Fine Arts and three days later Murakami’s first solo show of his works mainland in China at Perrotin in Shanghai entitled Takashi Murakami in Wonderland will also open its doors.
It’s not the first time China’s art word has been plagued by forgeries. In 2013, an entire museum in Hebei province was forced to close after the majority of their exhibitions were discovered to be fake. According to the BBC, some of the objects are overtly unoriginal, with one Qing dynasty vase found to have been decorated with modern cartoon characters.