How the Artworld Turned on one of its Most Decorated Sons: Anish Kapoor owns Vantablack

As Anish Kapoor buys a colour fellow artist Stuart Semple is determined to 'obliterate Anish'.

Anish Kapoor is one of the most celebrated artists alive.

Alongside his knighthood from the Queen and honorary doctorate from Oxford University Kapoor can boast a Turner Prize, Praemium Imperiale and Genesis Prize.

There are few accolades the artworld has to offer which Kapoor is yet to claim. In short, Anish Kapoor is widely regarded as one of the greatest artists of our times.

So why has fellow British Artist Stuart Semple set out to ‘obliterate’ Kapoor?

Why is Kapoor, once beloved by the artworld, now being labelled a ‘narcissistic maniac’ by other artists?

This is the story behind the storm of controversy surrounding Anish Kapoor and a brief insight into how one of the artworld’s most admired artists became a villain.

In 2014 a UK-based laboratory announced it had developed a brand-new colour: Vantablack. Vantablack isn’t any normal colour.. It is the blackest black ever developed.

Using military-grade technology vantablack is able to absorb 99.6% of all light and as Kapoor explained

 ‘it’s the blackest material in the universe after black holes’.

Clearly vantablack is something special. Naturally, the development of this stunning new colour opened a world of possibilities for artists.

Some even begun to wonder whether the arrival of vantablack would signal the beginning of a new era in art.

That was until Kapoor got his hands on the product.

Anish Kapoor, like so many others, immediately appreciated the potential of this new colour.

The prospect of one of the finest artistic minds adopting this revolutionary colour delighted critics.

But for Kapoor using vantablack in his works wasn’t enough. Kapoor didn’t simply want to be seen as a pioneer of the exciting new colour, but THE pioneer.

With his status and considerable wealth (Kapoor’s $85 million net-worth makes him the sixth richest artist alive) Kapoor was able to secure an exclusive licensing deal with vantablack’s producers. Kapoor has paid an undisclosed fee to legally ban any other artist from working with vantablack.

This decision enraged the artistic community.

Kapoor’s actions have been blasted as arrogant, elitist and selfish.

Kapoor has defended himself explaining:

 “Why exclusive? Because it’s a collaboration, because I am wanting to push them [vantablack’s producers] to a certain use for it. I’ve collaborated with people who make things out of stainless steel for years and that’s exclusive.”

Few have been content with this explanation and anger about the situation has continued.

However, until anyone is able to produce a blacker black (and many are trying) Kapoor will continue to be the only artist toying with the possibilities vantablack has to offer.  


 

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