To the wrath of his fellow artists, Anish Kapoor effectively confirmed this week that he has gained the exclusive rights to Vantablack, the blackest shade of black ever made.
Kapoor worked with UK-based nanomaterial research lab Surrey NanoSystems to develop the carbon-based pigment. He has been using the material exclusively since 2014, but the reality of not having access to the blackest black is just hitting his fellow artists now.
“Personally, I find this type of monopoly rather absurd and stifling,” Belgian artist Frederik De Wilde tells Quartz in an email. Others, like painter Christian Furr, who was barred from using Vantablack for a series of paintings, echo the sentiment.
The quest for the blackest of all blacks is not unique to art. In 2007, a team at NASA began work on a super black nanotechnology to make instruments more sensitive. Last year, a sample of that super-black coating was sent to the International Space Station for testing in space.