LANXESS Corporation is partnering with the Andy Warhol Museum to unveil a commissioned sculpture made out of synthetic rubber during the Unnatural Rubber exhibition opening this week.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of a revolutionary invention. On September 12, 1909, Fritz Hofmann received a patent for the “industrial production of synthetic rubber,” which transferred to LANXESS in 2004.
“The invention of Fritz Hoffman 100 years ago helped industrialize society by literally setting it into motion,” said Randy Dearth, president and CEO of LANXESS Corporation. “I am very proud that LANXESS is the heir to the synthetic rubber patent and that we are able to celebrate in such an innovative way, by merging science with art.”
Wheel of Fortune – the piece commissioned by LANXESS Corporation and created by Hank Willis Thomas, Ryan Alexiev and Loren Madsen – takes the form of a massive three-dimensional timeline of the production of synthetic rubber over the past 100 years, coated in tire-tread with a specialty tire rim at the end. The sculpture is made of tire rubber (60% synthetic rubber). Events such as WWII, the Oil Embargo of the 70s, and the Asian Financial Crisis (1998) can clearly be seen as a bump or dip in the overall upward trajectory of rubber production.
“With tire treads as markers of time, Wheel of Fortune provides museum patrons a rare chance to experience the passing of history in a physical and visual representation,” says artist Hank Willis Thomas. “The sculpture bears witness to the ways in which a specific industry has been affected by global events.”
Both Lehigh Technologies and Michelin Tires (Michelin Retread Technologies XZY-1) donated rubber for Wheel of Fortune.
The Unnatural Rubber exhibition will be on view at The Andy Warhol Museum from October 18, 2009 through January 31, 2010 and then travel to other museums and LANXESS locations around the world.
The UnnaturalRubber.com website follows the exhibition and will feature artist interaction along with a look at other pieces from the exhibition, historical synthetic rubber information and artist submissions.
LANXESS produces hundreds of different grades of synthetic rubber designed for a diverse range of applications, making it the manufacturer with the broadest product range. With 100 years of experience in synthetic elastomers, the company is also regarded as a technology leader and a driving force in the industry.