Anish Kapoor responds to being banned from buying the ‘Worlds Pinkest Pink’

Gosh, I love a good art world brawl.  What could be more hilarious than artists fighting over colors?  It’s a Far Side cartoon waiting to happen.

This one is like watching a child play happily with a toy until he spots another kid across the room with a better version.  He looks down at the toy in his hand with disappointment, discarding it as we walks across the room to point and cry at the newer toy, screaming it isn’t’ fair.

It’s all a bit like the whole “Anish Kapoor bought the exclusive rights to the blackest black pigment in the world and won’t let us have any!” rant.

Here’s the story:

Back in 2014, Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor acquired exclusive rights to the revolutionary ‘Vantablack’ pigment, said to be the blackest shade of black ever created.  The pigment is developed by tech company Nanosystems. It’s capable of absorbing 99.96 percent of light and until Kapoor got his hands on it, it was only available to the British military and for use in telescope technology.

Kapoor briefly explained its distinctive properties on BBC Radio 4.

“It’s effectively like a paint, it’s so black you almost can’t see it,” he said. “It has a kind of unreal quality and I’ve always been drawn to rather exotic materials because of what they make you feel.”

Well, that kicked off the tantrums from certain artists including English painter Christian Furr – who told the Mail on Sunday that he felt Kapoor was “monopolizing the material… I’ve never heard of an artist monopolizing a material. Using pure black in an artwork grounds it,” he said. “All the best artists have had a thing for pure black – Turner, Manet, Goya. This black is like dynamite in the art world. We should be able to use it – it isn’t right that it belongs to one man,” he added.

So in retaliation, British artist Stuart Semple created what he claims is the “pinkest pink” paint on the market and tried to ban Anish Kapoor from buying it.  Literally, it’s impossible to overlook the asterisked legal declaration you’re essentially agreeing to, if you purchase the pigment on Semple’s website.

*Note: By adding this product to your cart you confirm 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. 

Semple wants Kapoor to learn to share, so he sets out to make an example by not sharing.  The lesson seems a  bit counter-productive to me. Semple put out a call to find out how he stole the color, though we read that Kapoor simply walked into a store and bought the pigment over-the-counter. Isn’t that the rub?!

No matter how Kapoor procured the pigment, there’s no debating the IG picture he posted of his middle finger dipped in Semple’s pink paint with the caption “Up yours #pink” is kind of funny.

Up yours #pink

A photo posted by Anish Kapoor (@dirty_corner) on

Writer and visual artist, Sanjeev Khandekar, who recently delivered a lecture on the patenting of colors had this to say over the phenomenon…“What Anish has done is exactly the opposite of what artists around the world are trying to do — to have an open access to general intellect. The art world is also a part of the society and today more than aesthetics, art is driven by the market, so there is competition. Artists are bloated with ego and often end up making fools of themselves.”.


[via Dezeen & Artlyst]