Monday, August 7, 2023

A sculptor has been suing Kevin Costner since 2008 over the rights to a complex sculpture she created

Courthouse News (the South Dakota Supreme Court just made a procedural ruling in the sculptor's favor):

The story begins in the heady days of the early 1990s, when Costner, fresh from winning Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards for his film, "Dances With Wolves," commissioned Peggy Detmers, a former biologist for the U.S. Forest Service, to create 17 bronze sculptures, at 1 1/2 times life size, depicting Lakota warriors chasing buffalo off a cliff.

Costner says the resulting piece would have been the third largest in the world. It was supposed to be displayed at The Dunbar, a luxury resort Costner was planning to build near Deadwood, South Dakota


Costner finally gave up on The Dunbar and decided to instead build, on the same piece of land he owned, Tatanka: Story of the Bison, a sort of roadside attraction to house Detmers' enormous sculpture, which had finally been finished and named "Lakota Bison Jump." Tatanka also included a visitor center, café, gift shop specializing in "Lakota-made, local-made, and Native American owned companies," interactive museum and nature walkways. It remains open today; according to its website, admission is $12, or $6 for kids.

Detmers, apparently, did not think that her sculpture had been "agreeably displayed elsewhere," and sued Costner in 2008, asking the court to force Costner to sell the sculpture, splitting the proceeds with her, and hand over the copyright.