Thanks to the quick eye of an artist and an article in a British newspaper, a large piece of public art has been shielded from view in Shanghai and is being dismantled.

Why? Because while it is art, is an exact copy of  Wendy Taylor’s Timepiece which sits close to Tower Bridge. An ardent fan of Ms. Taylor’s work saw the installation in Shanghai and sent a photo of the work to her. Trouble was that while it was certainly a copy of Ms. Taylor’s work, it also certainly had not been authorized by her.

“At first I thought someone had done a clever Photoshop and changed the background, but then I looked more closely and thought ‘oh my god no, this is a complete copy’,” Ms Taylor said.“They only difference is the angle has been changed for the time.”

This isn’t the first time a work of art by a famous public artist has appeared unauthorized in China. A very surprising replica of Anish Kapoor’s masterpiece “Cloud Gate” (which is in Chicago and installed in 2006) replicated itself in Karamay, China.

You may also remember Florentiijn Hofman’s work Rubber Duck that toured cities around the world. Apparently a set of large rubber ducks appeared in China too, except they were not Hofman’s.

While Ms. Taylor has decided that life is too short to go after the City of Shanghai for plagiarism, the  city’s other 3,500 pieces of public art will now be analyzed. A few have already been identified as potentially replicated from other sources.

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