Anish Kapoor and the Blackest Black

anish kapoor

Anish Kapoor is an installation and conceptual artist born in India and living in the U.K. An acclaimed sculptor, Kapoor may be most famous in America as the designer of Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park, better known as The Bean.

Renowned and celebrated in the U.K., India, and Israel, Kapoor has received honors ranging from a British knighthood to the $1 million Israeli Genesis Prize.

Kapoor’s sculptures have been displayed all over the world. From Japan to Paris to Mexico City, his stone and steelworks range from simple shapes to complex installations.

Sculptor Anish Kapoor

One of the most influential sculptors working today is Anish Kapoor, known for creating ambitious public sculptures in form and engineering.

Anish Kapoor’s sculptural forms are enigmatic. Kapoor’s works range from site-specific interventions on walls or floors to gigantic installations both in and outdoors. He has looked at the deep-rooted metaphysics of presence and absence, being and non-being, place and non-place, and the solid and intangible.

When he first began working in the 1980s, Anish Kapoor’s work was well known for its biomorphic sculptures made from limestone and other natural materials.

Now most famously known for the highly polished stainless steel of Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millenium Park, Kapoor’s fascination with material, form, and space is also present in Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center.

And since then, the Greater London Authority selected Kapoor’s Orbit sculpture as the permanent artwork for the Olympic Park. This 115-meter tower is one of many works that have been commissioned to make up this new public space. The name “Orbit” represents its monumental size and reflects on some core themes in Kapoor’s work: how we live with each other or apart.

Enter the Blackest Black Controversy

A dark specter entered the artistic world of Anish Kapoor in 2014 and its name is Vantablack. Developed to mask objects, the pigment makes three-dimensional objects appear flat. It wasn’t created with artists in mind, but Kapoor saw the potential and bought the exclusive artistic rights to this Blackest Black.

The art world wasn’t thrilled by the purchase. Another British artist, Stuart Semple, was particularly offended. To the point of removing black pigment from his own contribution to color, the pinkest pink, which he offered freely to everyone in the artistic community—except for Anish Kapoor.

Not one to let sleeping dogs lie, Kapoor managed to acquire some of the pink pigment and send a pink middle finger message to Semple indicating his feelings toward his fellow artist.

The battle over the colors is an amusing diversion, but it seems to have had an interesting ripple effect. The bickering has kept these high-tech colors in the spotlight and scientists continue to make breakthroughs. The creators of the Whitest White hope it provides an environmentally friendly way to cool buildings.

Art used to improve people’s lives and reduce energy consumption should be free and widely available.

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