Thursday, November 3, 2016

Is it Tiffany or Robin's Egg blue?

When you say  Hermes orange, or Tiffany blue,  does Kapoor black come to mind? British artist Anish Kapoor has secured the exclusive right to use the high-tech color "Vantablack", a color developed for military purposes. The pigment is so dark that it absorbs 99.96 percent of light making anything coated with it nearly invisible. I heard that the former Soviet Union went to great lengths during the Cold War to discover the formula.

Kapoor is not the first artist to secure rights to a color.  Think Yves Klein. Did you know you are supposed to pay a licensing fee to the estate if you use that color (International Klein Blue)? And how would you ever know if you strayed into Yves Klein territory when for instance doing a painting of a swimming pool with a myriad of blues?

What do you think of an artist monopolizing a color? Should brand identity stand in the way of artistic expression? Will Kapoor aggressively pursue his rights and sue fellow artists?  Will you be arrested by painting with Kapoor Black?

And what if you are using it as a commentary on Kapoor, or a reference to the military, or the nature and presence of a painting with the absence of color? Shouldn't that all be covered under freedom of expression and merit legal protection?

Tom Sachs comes to mind with his use of safety orange. It informs our understanding of his work. I love that he's thought about orange.

I think we are at the beginning of a large conversation. What do you think pink?