Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Semple vs. Kapoor

Throughout history, the art world has been (g)littered with rivalries ... how far back this goes, I can't even begin to imagine, petroglyphs perhaps?  Da Vinci / Michelangelo, Van Gogh / Gauguin, Picasso / now some people would put Matisse here, but I'm going with Modigliani.  C'mon, painting over someone else's work?  That's a nice bit of drama, just look at the  Banksy / King Robbo paint-fracas in which each artist notoriously paints over the other's works.  I feel, however, their defacement is on a more playful scale.  By trying to one-up each other they push the limits of their respective humor, and creativity, and it's endlessly entertaining for the audience, but there's a new feud in town, and it is the stuff of which petty dreams are made!

Stuart Semple versus Anish Kapoor:

It all started with Surrey NanoSystems' creation of the black-est substance on earth in 2014.  According to their website:
Vantablack® is a super-black coating that holds the world record as the darkest man-made substance.  So dark, in fact, that it absorbs light to such an extent (99.965% actually) that it renders many 3D objects flat to the human eye.  
Promptly expressing interest in using the material for artistic purposes after learning of its existence, Anish Kapoor wasn't ready to stop there.  Taking his enthusiasm a bit too far (for many in the art world) Mr. Kapoor aquired the exclusive rights to the substance known as Vantablack® and in doing so prevents anyone else from using it in their artistic endeavors.

Enter Stuart Semple.  This absolute legend is having NONE OF IT.  Disgusted by the (is this a stretch?) Faustian bargain between Kapoor and NanoSystems -- whose CEO is admittedly a Kapoor fan-boy leaving little wonder to how the artist jumped the queue to being considered for an artistic partnership with the company -- Semple (and his band of mad scientists) began creating his own "est" colors: Pinkest Pink, Greenest Green, Yellowest Yellow, Loveliest Blue, and even the world's glitteriest glitter dubbed "Diamond Dust" all available for sale on his website Culture Hustle, and all of which Anish Kapoor is banned from using until he can learn to play well with others.  Upon purchasing from his online store you agree to the terms and conditions of owning the pigments, and media for sale by Semple:
*Note: By adding this product to your cart you onfirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make it's way into that hands of Anish Kapoor.
But he hasn't stopped there.  Last month, Semple released his own version of the blackest black, a two part medium consisting of a matte acrylic Super Base able to hold more pigment than any other acrylic medium available today, and a micronized pigment, Black, also known together as Flattening, Ultra-matte, Artistic, Key-chromer ... or, FU A.K. for short.  Did I mention it's also non-toxic, and does not require the laborious methods of applying heat and pressure that is necessary for Vantablack® to perform its magic, and is a lot easier and cheaper to make resulting in a very consumer-friendly 16 GBP price tag?  Oh yeah, adding insult to injury, it's also scented ... black cherry, rather fittingly.  As if you needed another reason to buy.

FU A.K. is a fraction of the $ of Vantablack? That's none of my business.
Kapoor did, in fact, end up with a pot of Pinkest Pink thanks (allegedly) to London's Lisson Gallery, a crime so heinous, Stuart "No Chill" Semple has insisted on a course of specific, if not deliciously tedious, action (found here) to be followed in order to keep the matter from escalating.

All antics aside, there is a clear winner here: Artists.  Thanks to Semple's efforts to clap back at art media monopolies, cronyism, and the enormous egos that rear their ugly heads in the art world, we have a whole new set of pigments (and glitter) in our kits to play and create with (at an affordable price, even!).  What could be better than that?

I will, without a doubt, be following the development of this color war now having found my very own petty-soul-twin in Semple.  Meanwhile, why don't you grab some supplies and share your creations?

#ShareTheBlack