Vantablack (for Vertically Aligned NanoTube Arrays) was developed in 2014 for satellite imaging systems. It absorbs 99.96% of light. It makes shadows on its surfaces imperceptible, turning busts into black holes and making crumpled tinfoil seem two-dimensional. It is the blackest black.
The creator of the material, Surrey NanoSystems, recently announced that Sir Anish Kapoor's studio had secured the exclusive rights to Vantablack in the field of art.
"It's blacker than anything you can imagine... So black you almost can't see it," Sir Anish told the BBC.
"Imagine a space that's so dark that as you walk in you lose all sense of where you are, what you are, and especially all sense of time."
An artist famous for his work on voids and boasting a large portfolio of monochromatic pieces is a likely candidate for experimenting with Vantablack, but Sir Anish is not the only artist who wants to use the material. His monopoly on the purest black has caused ripples of outrage, with Christian Furr (who had planned on using Vantablack on a project) denouncing the move and Shanti Panchal telling the Indian Telegraph that he "had never heard of anything so absurd."
The real absurdity lies in the fact that artists could, in theory, still use Ventablack--as long as it's not for art. If their urge for creative expression can unfold in an ad campaign for body spray, they're in luck.