"You are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor"
August 16, 2017 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Previously on Metafilter, British tech company Nanosystems created VantaBlack, the world's darkest color. As a promotional push, they sold exclusive artistic rights to the material to renowned artist Anish Kapoor. This didn't sit well with painter Stuart Semple and his contemporaries.

Semple retaliated by creating a powerfully flourescent shade of pink, which he dubbed PINK, and made available for sale on his website to everyone... excluding Anish Kapoor. In fact, purchasers must sign an affidavit on purchase promising they will not give or re-sell the pigment to Kapoor. "Whilst Anish's absorbs nearly all light, mine reflects it, kind of the antithesis of what his is doing."

Also previously, a few months later Kapoor got his finger in PINK anyway, and then sent a terse reply. In response, Semple created #sharetheblack and continued to tweak the elder artist by creating and selling "the glitteriest glitter" under the same restrictions.

He also upped his demands by linking his cheeky protest to a real estate dispute, demanding Kapoor scrap plans to add height to his South London studio building. Neighbors have started a petition complaining that the extra height will block their views, and that the starstruck local council is ignoring their complaints.

Meanwhile, the pigment arms race continues. The creators of Vantablack have created a new version that absorbs more light, but can be applied as a coating to existing objects. Semple has used liquid crystal, "more expensive than gold", to create two new color-changing shades which are also sold under the "no-Kapoors-allowed" rule. And just this week, Massachusetts-based manufacturer NanoLab has released Singularity Black. This new process has slightly more reflectivity than VantaBlack, but NanoLab promises to share the process, and will make their debut next week in a Boston gallery showing.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta (49 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a good art.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:22 PM on August 16, 2017 [19 favorites]


Worth noting: It's suspected that the glitteriest glitter was designed to thwart a repeat of the PINK response - because it's made of tiny glass shards so it really isn't safe to dip a finger into.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:27 PM on August 16, 2017 [23 favorites]


When do they start hitting each other with folding chairs?
posted by Ferreous at 5:30 PM on August 16, 2017 [19 favorites]


When do they start hitting each other with folding chairs?

Soon, one would hope.
posted by sutt at 5:33 PM on August 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is this real life, or the plot of a cult comedy starring Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell?
posted by Behemoth at 5:36 PM on August 16, 2017 [14 favorites]


When do they start hitting each other with folding chairs the Herman Miller Aeron Chair, now in True Black?
posted by curious nu at 5:36 PM on August 16, 2017 [14 favorites]


I love this feud. It never fails to make me laugh.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:39 PM on August 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


This is the best performance art. I could write a wanky précis of the whole thing but it's just delicious as it is.
posted by Jilder at 5:52 PM on August 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


An interesting note about PINK, digital sensors and displays can't show you how pink it really is.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:56 PM on August 16, 2017 [11 favorites]


It really was an asshat move on Nanosystems' part to give Kapoor the exclusive to VantaBlack. I do love art world pillow fights, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:00 PM on August 16, 2017 [7 favorites]


I had to laugh at "the glitteriest glitter". What's next, glitter-bombing Amish Kapoor with it? Then he sends Semple a postcard with nothing on it but the super black paint on cardstock?

As for not being safe to handle bare-handed, well...that's no ground that cadmium red, cobalt blue and turpentine haven't already covered. What's a few glass shards between friends?
posted by Autumnheart at 6:04 PM on August 16, 2017


Guys! Guys! Break it up!

There's a perfectly obvious solution to your dispute!

Just hold hands and tandem-shit on Yves Klein's grave.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:22 PM on August 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


"I've been painting since I was five years old, and I've seen a lot of pink."

I lolled for real.

The answer is none. None more pink.
posted by mhoye at 6:22 PM on August 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


I have seen this "feud" described as petty, implying that both sides are equally at fault but... I mean, is there anyone who doesn't think Kapoor is the dick here?
posted by danny the boy at 6:45 PM on August 16, 2017 [15 favorites]


There is a green and a yellow on his website that hurt my eyes, like I can still see the after-image on the screen, and they are likely not as intense as the real thing. I'm quite tempted to get some to give as presents for kids.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:47 PM on August 16, 2017


I think this is fabulous. These artists are getting paid and I am in favor of literally anything that results in more artists getting paid and getting exposure.

Also,show of hands, how many of us already know exactly who these people are and have no idea what their "art" looks like?

Because it would be awesome if someone finally pulled off being a Famous Artist without actually making art. Warhol, Koons, Tarentino -- you came close.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:15 PM on August 16, 2017 [11 favorites]


Head over to AskMe and stare at the screen for 30 seconds before viewing the PINK video to make the pink you experience more intense (and maybe more faithful to the in-person experience).
posted by Jpfed at 7:34 PM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also,show of hands, how many of us already know exactly who these people are and have no idea what their "art" looks like?

Kapoor makes massive monumental pieces of public art, so many, many people have seen his work. His best known piece in the US is the "bean" in Millennium Park in Chicago, which is easily seen by like 5 million people a year.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:35 PM on August 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


Also wasn't Kapoor famously sort of a dick about "the bean?" I remember reading claims that he'd tried to claim copyright on all photos depicting the sculpture and prevent people from sharing them, down to and including vacation smartphone pics. In hindsight, I'm thinking this was likely the artist going for an intentional Streisand effect. Seems like he has a "thing" he sticks to for attention.
posted by Alterscape at 7:48 PM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


I like his Turbine Hall peice.
posted by Artw at 7:59 PM on August 16, 2017


I remember reading claims that he'd tried to claim copyright on all photos depicting the sculpture and prevent people from sharing them, down to and including vacation smartphone pics.

The city initially required large fees for commercial photographs. I don't think Kapoor had anything to do with that.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:00 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Vantablack company, Surrey Nanosystems, is a delightful account to follow on Instagram. They post very rarely, but every so often you'll be surprised by a soothing splash of the world's blackest black.
posted by acidic at 8:03 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


I would just like to point out that their portmanteau is 'kapoople' and also that this rivalry is the most delicious thing and, if not my favorite thing about the art world, it's wayyyy up there.
posted by kalimac at 8:07 PM on August 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


Kapoor makes massive monumental pieces of public art, so many, many people have seen his work. His best known piece in the US is the "bean" in Millennium Park in Chicago, which is easily seen by like 5 million people a year.

Goddamn it Metafilter, isn't there anything of which I can be ignorant?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:26 PM on August 16, 2017 [9 favorites]


Behold my new pigment, the Mortiest Morty.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:38 PM on August 16, 2017 [8 favorites]


I'm waiting for some kind of ultra-beige
posted by aubilenon at 9:06 PM on August 16, 2017 [21 favorites]


For those of you who are considering buying it, I bought a bit of Stuart Semple's pink to try, and I think it is a very interesting colour.

The pink itself comes in a small tub filled with an innocuous pink powder. It's pink, sure, but it is slightly disappointing.

Once mixed with a medium of your choice (in my case acrylic gloss) it becomes a very... insistent... pink. You notice it initially because it stands out, but as you keep your eye on it, it... it keeps telling you how pink it is. It doesn't glow, though. It's hard to describe.

I'm looking for a suitable use, but the colour in itself is very intriguing and well worth the 4 pounds plus shipping IMO.
posted by theony at 10:45 PM on August 16, 2017 [24 favorites]


I mean, is there anyone who doesn't think Kapoor is the dick here?

Me.

Stuart Semple comes over as much more of a knut than Kapoor; he started it after all, jealous of somebody getting something exclusively that wasn't his.

But on the whole this is about as fake a conflict as wrestling and I could care less about it, unless they do start hitting each other with fold up chairs.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:53 PM on August 16, 2017 [4 favorites]


Wow, capitalism really is doomed.
posted by JHarris at 11:11 PM on August 16, 2017


Kapoor makes massive monumental pieces of public art, so many, many people have seen his work. His best known piece in the US is the "bean" in Millennium Park in Chicago, which is easily seen by like 5 million people a year.

He built this for the London Olympics as well. Seems to be unpopular, but I quite like it.
posted by Pink Frost at 11:26 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]


He built this for the London Olympics as well. Seems to be unpopular, but I quite like it.

A coat of the glitteriest glitter would have made all the difference. Damn you, Stuart Semple.
posted by tavegyl at 12:09 AM on August 17, 2017 [8 favorites]


Well, isn't ARS GRATIA ARTIS just the new ARS? Only I doubt the original interpretation was referring to OTHER artists art....

That paint war is a perfect example of this kind of meta art. Art meta. Metart. Note how it doesn't really seem to matter any more what actual pieces were created with these paints, just as long as the meta provides for a catchy story.

But I visited documenta 14 recently and if you ask me, modern art is really a lot about meta.

Recently on documenta 14, I saw a young mom pushing a stroller through Neue Galerie with the walls full of Beuys derivative art (Facebook) and installations referring to Nazi plunder.

Her kid had a notepad and was meticulously drawing little circles on the block for my favorite bonus level of meta. I'd title this piece "New Bliss".

Poor naive proper artists tho.

Artmen.
posted by flamewise at 12:58 AM on August 17, 2017


I loved Kapoor's work in 2002/3 but he's turned into a complete dick hasn't he? What a pity. So talented. Yet an arsehole
posted by dmt at 2:12 AM on August 17, 2017


This is so much fun to read.

"The problem we had was that we never expected to sell any so we priced it at just what it costs to make and we've had to somehow put in place fulfilment warehouses and customer service and all that stuff. But sadly, even though all that is exciting, it's still a failure because Anish is still at large in his multi-million pound Tribeca loft hoarding black holes all for himself."
posted by fraula at 2:46 AM on August 17, 2017 [8 favorites]


Anish Kapoor: if Martin Shkreli was an artist.
posted by acb at 3:23 AM on August 17, 2017 [9 favorites]


jealous of somebody getting something exclusively that wasn't his

I'd put in a mild appeal that being annoyed about someone hoarding something like an art tool or supply exclusively for themselves, is not quite the same as straight up bitterness over someone getting something you don't.

I'll admit it's possible that I'm being swayed by my love of petty behaviour in the response.
posted by ominous_paws at 5:05 AM on August 17, 2017 [6 favorites]


thank you for the clarification mr_roboto -- guess my memory was incorrect (or I am remembering something from an outrage-y corner of the internet that's not factually correct)!
posted by Alterscape at 5:45 AM on August 17, 2017


FYI: There's a month left for the Kapoor installation in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a ~20 foot continuous whirlpool called Descension. Man may be a dick, but he can put together something cool.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:10 AM on August 17, 2017


Woohoo - I have been waiting 30-years, combine this with the recent advances in privatized space flight and I can finally start my new band... Names... names... names... I got it.... "Disaster Area"...
posted by jkaczor at 6:34 AM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Arse gratia artis
posted by BentFranklin at 6:59 AM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


You left out the best part of the story! Semple spent months researching and refining a mixture for a paintable black pigment that shared Vantablack's creepy property of flattening three-dimensional structure, and he succeeded. It isn't as black as VantaBlack, but it's black enough, and it can be painted on (instead of requiring careful machine application). He's selling the result, apparently at cost.
posted by AABoyles at 7:11 AM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


Also,show of hands, how many of us already know exactly who these people are and have no idea what their "art" looks like?

I like his Sky Mirror in my local(ish) city of Nottingham... which totally focuses the suns rays into a death beam that kills pigeons.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:07 AM on August 17, 2017


Artist disputes have existed for as long as there has been more than one artist. This is nothing new though it's a hell of a lot more entertaining than most artist disputes tend to be.

The real troll here is Nanosystems, who would not have given an artist exclusive rights to a pigment that's mostly useful for scientific purposes unless they had something better in the works. Much of Kapoor's artistic identity is involved with how he crafts extreme materials, and now he has exclusive rights to an impractical also-ran.
posted by ardgedee at 8:10 AM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]


sold under the "no-Kapoors-allowed" rule

If my legal education and experience has taught me anything, it's permitted to at least one Kapoor.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:32 AM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Does Semple have a Bill Murray clause in his no-Kapoor contracts? If not, he really needs to add one.
posted by tzikeh at 9:07 AM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


This feud is a crime against Bret Hart and it can't stand.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:51 AM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


The VantaBlack thing struck me as more an issue of certification - since the paint is made out of unconventional materials, it probably needs specialist training to use it properly, and so far Kapoor is the only person trained to use it for artistic purposes.

Could the VantaBlack manufacturers start some sort of certification program for their paint for other artists to take up?
posted by divabat at 7:24 PM on August 17, 2017


Every single thing I've read on this refers specifically to Vantablack selling exclusive usage rights to Kapoor, rather than certification issues, for ex. here:

The paint – described as the blackest shade of black ever created – attracted attention after its creator, British company NanoSystems, sold the exclusive rights for its use to artist Anish Kapoor.

Unlike Vantablack, Singularity Black has been made available to the general public, with NanoLab also offering a coating service for anyone that sends in pieces to their lab.


There's not even any reference to, say, certification being so expensive it makes Vantablack practically exclusive - it does genuinely seem to be only Kapoor that can use it.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:45 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vantablack can't be touched, humidity ruins it and it needs application at 750F. Also more expensve than diamonds. It's only slightly lesser cousin is available to all and there are other firms making vertical nanotubes. Oh, also apparently requires an export permit. If it weren't exclusive chances are good nobody would care.

Scarcity, it fucks over the monkey mind.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:51 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]


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