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The finished art sculpture commissioned by LANXESS Corporation and The Andy Warhol Museum was unveiled to LANXESS customers, community leaders and the media during a reception hosted by Randy Dearth at The Warhol on October 14.
The evening was a celebration of the critical role synthetic rubber has played in history. Guests from six different countries were in attendance, including LANXESS AG Board Member Dr. Werner Breuers and the artists that created the piece. In his remarks, Breuers reiterated the importance of synthetic rubber to modern society: “In the past decades, [synthetic rubber] has facilitated countless innovations in automotive engineering, energy generation, medicine, sports, and even in the aerospace industry.”
The sculpture, created by national artists Hank Willis Thomas, Ryan Alexiev and Loren Madsen, titled Wheel of Fortune, takes the form of a massive, three-dimensional timeline representing the production of synthetic rubber over the past 100 years. Coated in tire tread with a specialty tire rim at the end, it is composed of 60 percent synthetic rubber which was donated by Lehigh Technologies and Michelin Tires. World 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.
The Unnatural Rubber reception was held in conjunction with the ACS Rubber Expo in Pittsburgh from October 13 – 15. Dr. Breuers visited the Expo on Wednesday afternoon where he had the opportunity to speak with employees and customers. LANXESS and Rhein Chemie participated with booths that were very well-attended. The LANXESS booth was representative of all four rubber business units – Technical Rubber Products (TRP), Performance Butadiene Rubbers (PBR), Rubber Chemicals (RUC) and Butyl Rubber (BTR) – and featured colorful, Warhol-inspired designs as well as a billboard promoting the Unnatural Rubber exhibit.
The Unnatural Rubber exhibition opens to the public on October 18 and will be at The Warhol through January 31, 2010. It will then travel to other museums and LANXESS locations around the world. The website, unnaturalrubber.com, follows the exhibition and features artist interaction, a look at other pieces from the exhibition and historical synthetic rubber information.