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Purple Penguin

About the Exhibition

About Purple Penguin:

The color of Oklahoma City’s penguin was inspired by 21c’s dedication to innovation and transformation: a dazzling purple. Historically, purple has been associated with royalty, because it is so hard to find in nature–the only organic source is a particular type of snail. But in 1856, a young British chemist named Henry William Perkins accidentally synthesized aniline dyes, creating purple dye. He obtained a patent for manufacturing the dye, and built a highly successful business making his discovery accessible to manufacturers and artists worldwide. Innovative technology is embedded in this site, and today a 21st century vision of progress is transforming this former plant into a multi-use cultural center. The purple penguin is an articulate ambassador for the spirit of discovery, ingenuity, and community 21c strives to nurture in the creative heart of OKC.

About Cracking Art: 

Cracking Art was founded in 1993 by seven artists: Alex Angi, Kicco, Renzo Nucara, Carlo Rizzeti, Omar Ronda, Marco Veronese and William Sweetlove. They have exhibited widely throughout Europe and first exhibited at 21c Museum Louisville in 2006.

“We have sought the origins of life in the earth’s oldest natural material, that is petroleum. A black, dense liquid disgorging from the warm womb of Mother Earth, and the natural repository of the planet’s entire history of organic life-forms, from its origins to the present day. We have studied the technique known as ‘cracking,’ which breaks up this natural magma into a series of synthetic, artificial derivative products. We have discovered plastic, the most modern and extraordinary element that any artist can manipulate.

We use objects and shapes in plastic that evoke or simulate nature, so as to reinstate petroleum’s ancient, primary forms of life and imagery. This means turning life back in its tracks, as a way of finding the poetical voice and soul of art in the material itself.”

 “The group has chosen to express itself in atypical fashion through irony. After all, is learning not best accomplished when it is fun?”

Manifesto for the Third Millennium

Biella, Italy, 30 May 1993
The Philosophical Project of Cracking Art Group

  1. We want to change the codes for the art of the future.
  2. Art is as important as our own life.
  3. We are men of the present and want our work to interpret contemporary problems.
  4. Art and life do not exist without a wholeness of nature.
  5. Art and culture are the only possible saviours of the world and humanity.
  6. We have chosen ‘Cracking’ for our work as it shows the molecular fission between natural and artificial.
  7. Our elected material is ‘plastic’, containing the whole experience of the planet, natural / artificial, ancient / future, and in which we seek the archaic anthropological, vegetable and animal origins, in order to build a new kind of iconography.
  8. We are enemies of hypocrisy, conspiracy and suspicion.
  9. We fight for the defense of nature and man with all our force.
  10. We want to leave behind a better world than the one we found.

*Cracking Art: Nascita di un’avanguardia. Milan: Mazzatta, 2005 is a comprehensive catalogue of Cracking Art Group up to 2005 and is available at the 21c Museum Shop.

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