Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Our black goes up to 11 *

Anish Kapoor has been working with Fuligin (the colour that is blacker than black) for a year or so now, producing such works as "The Shadow of the Torturer", a natural progression from his earlier "Marsyas".

I remember Kapoor from decades ago -- before he became an Art Hero of the State, reliant on patronage from plutocrats to fund his gigantism -- when his art practice consisted of making sand-castles and lemon-squeezers out of unmixed pigments and spices. A celebration of pure colour divorced from representation (and maybe alluding to Kandinsky's and Klee's attempts to draw synaesthetic links from colour to geometry).

Anyway, Kapoor has acquired the rights to artistic application of fuligin, in a mutual-publicity pact with its manufacturer. After sedulous research, a Guardian columnist was able to find two other artists whose noses are out-of-joint about the exclusivity of his supply.

Hilarity ensued (and two peeved artists became a groundswell of outrage) when an Encyclopedia Britannica blogger set out to churnalise the primary sources:
Kapoor is an internationally recognized artist known for his biomorphic sculptures and his use of reflective surfaces and extremely rich colors. It is not surprising that he was drawn to experimentation with this unusual substance. Kapoor is not the first artist to lay exclusive claim to a color. Venetian Renaissance artist Titian had his own signature blue,** as did Yves Klein (who patented his color as IKB: International Klein Blue) in the 1960s. And many companies have trademarked their colors (e.g., UPS’s brown, Tiffany’s blue). But Kapoor’s peers are furious that he is the only artist with access to this blackest of all blacks.
Naomi Blumberg clears her name of any suspicion of plagiarism by failing to comprehend the basic facts, and fabricating other bits, perhaps in the hope of landing a journalism job with the Daily Telegraph. If cones and hemispheres are the shape of biology on your home planet, contact the Riddled Exobiology Research Institute and Sheep-Dip Dispensary immediately.

The Shamen wrote a song about Kapoor's fondness for funnels. Not everyone knows that.

* The "How much more black?" title was already taken.

** "In the 18th century, leading artists including Benjamin West and Joshua Reynolds paid through the nose for the right to use “Titian’s shade”, a mixture of ivory black and Prussian blue that was supposed to be the Venetian master’s secret colour. It was in reality a con trick concocted by a painter called Ann Provis, who had a good laugh at the men of the Royal Academy."

Bonus Marsyas:
"Wonderful for details, Titian -- look at helpful Pan, bringing the bucket of water."


H. Rumbold, Master Barber said...

Obligatory Los Bravos reference.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

He'd better watch out, some aggrieved rival is liable to drag his ass to the Sanguinary Field.

Smut Clyde said...

Our article on "Gardening with Averns" has been delayed AGAIN due to turnover in the gardening staff.

Smut Clyde said...

Yves Klein (who patented his color as IKB: International Klein Blue) in the 1960s

Or alternatively, for readers who prefer the real world,
In May 1960, Klein deposited a Soleau envelope, registering the paint formula under the name International Klein Blue (IKB) at the Institut national de la propriété industrielle (INPI),[3] but he never patented IKB.

Smut Clyde said...

Putting to one side Naomi Blumberg and her impressive ability to contradict at least one fact per sentence while recycling work from other writers (does the Encyclopedia Britannica pay her to do that?), I should note that her primary source, Guardian columnist Jonathan Jones, fabricates just as many falsehoods in his account of "Titian's Shade" and the 1795-1797 "Venetian Secret" scandal.

Sirius Lunacy said...

Well maybe it's all for the best
But I wish I'd never been lassooed
Maybe it's some kind of test
I wish I'd never been tattooed
Or been to hell and back
Fade to Fuligin