Date:2020-01-14 11:30
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Shanghai, Jan. 13, 2020This past December 22nd, 2019 a new exhibition titled “SIPA Hepburn Era” opened at the K11 Art Museum in Shanghai. It is meant to run for the next 70 days.(Press Release Distribution China-The China Box)

“The exhibition turns the 2,000-square-meter museum into an immersive experience theater.   Altogether 12 interactive scenes, such as a party held 50 years ago, will be produced by involving images of noted actress Audrey Hepburn as well as music icons like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles, and other international celebrities of the last century. 200 photos of 80 celebrities, especially of Hepburn, will be provided by the world's second largest photo agency SIPA and showcased for the first time. Classic melodies, such as "Only You" and "Moon River", will be played during the 70-day exhibition to offer unique experiences.”(Press Release Distribution China-The China Box)

The advertising (below) uses artwork which attempts to recall Audrey Hepburn in her Givenchy “Sabrina” cocktail gown.(Press Release Distribution China-The China Box)

Wondering how this came to be, we contacted Miss Hepburn's eldest son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, for his reaction:

Question: How did this exhibition come to be and what are your thoughts?

Answer: I don't know much about it as we, the family, were not involved in the exhibition nor did we authorize it. I believe that the socialite Wang Xiao Hui and her assistant Guanhong Xiao are involved.  They originally contacted us wanting to collaborate on an Audrey Hepburn exhibition but it soon became apparent that these were lovely people without any experience or artistic legitimacy so we politely declined. Since there has never been an actual 'Hepburn Era', I have to surmise that this is simply their desperately opportunistic creation to make a living in a very competitive art world.

Question: What do you plan to do?

Answer: Upon hearing of it, we contacted the headquarters of SIPA in France. They responded that they had nothing to do with it. So we now have both the brands of the celebrity it portends to be about and the agency providing the images being utilized without permission or consent. It appears to be entirely concocted only to take the Chinese public's money. I find it is such a waste that somehow the law turns a blind eye to these unauthorized uses of intellectual properties and copyrights especially in view of the multitude of legitimate and talented Chinese artists. I am equally embarrassed on behalf of all the other celebrities' families and estates whose faces are a water mark on the background of a supposite silhouette of my mother. No matter how talented and beloved she was, I am not sure it is appropriate for her to be upstaging the Beatles, Dali, Warhol, Picasso or Hemingway. 

Question: Are you planning a legitimate exhibition about your mother in China in the near future?

Answer: Yes. We just collaborated with Tiffany for their recent masterful exhibition at the Fosun   foundation in Shanghai. May 4th, 2019 was the anniversary of her 90th birthday. At the occasion I produced a personal living biography exhibition titled 'Intimate Audrey' in Brussels, where she was born, and subsequently in Amsterdam, where she spent her youth and the war. It is about the woman coming home - devoid of her celebrity and fashion accoutrement. If I get a chance, between one unauthorized exhibition and another, I might try to bring it to China.

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