Can Living Art be Granted Copyright Protection?
Chapman Kelly is a well-known artist, who is famous for his landscape paintings and woodworks. In 1984, the Chicago Park District approached him to create an outdoor display of wildflowers. Kelly envisioned two large ellipses containing native wildflowers surrounded by gravel and steel. By 2004, Kelly’s creation was in disrepair and the city made arrangements to change and remove parts of his concept. Kelly brought suit against the Chicago Park District under the Visual Artist’s Rights Act of 1990 and breach of contract. He claimed that the garden was a sculpture or painting qualifying for a “work of visual art” under VARA and that reconfiguration was intentional mutilation of his work.