Afghan Artists Fear Censorship Under Taliban Rule, and Other News

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Afghan artists are rallying to destroy their artworks as the Taliban rule continues.  

Amidst a hostile takeover by the Taliban, Afghan artists are consolidating their next move. In addition to vocalizing the disappointment in the US on its lack of follow-up in light of the humanitarian crisis, many artists fear the looming censorship and consequences brought about by their artworks. Some artists are scrambling to take down any proof of their art on the pretext of violent retaliation, while others are formalizing their sheer outrage in artistic displays of rebellion as a swan song before going underground. The general consensus is that the Taliban will forgo any protection of artistic integrity in Afghanistan despite its contribution to a national narrative. Afghan woman activist and fashion designer Laila Noor says that “one needs to be sensitive and ask, what is important for the people of this country? These barbarians do not have anything to do with the arts and culture, but other people in Afghanistan do. It is these people who need support and security and who should not be simply delivered to those who have no respect for the arts, culture, or women.”

CBS sells its Black Rock headquarters in New York to Harbor Group International.

Instigated by a review of non-core assets following its re-merger in December 2019, the network giant ViacomCBS is selling its Black Rock headquarters in Midtown Manhattan to real estate firm Harbor Group International. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the hallmark tower was the base of CBS since its inauguration in 1964; it is now slated for an interior revamp of its lobby and cafeteria areas, among other amenities, under its new owner. The $760 million transaction is expected to close by the end of the year. Although the Harbor Group has the financial capacity to pursue a long-term contract, CBS is expected to lease back the 38-storey skyscraper on a short-term basis. As noted by Naveen Chopra, EVP and Chief Financial Officer for ViacomCBS, the sale will “further financial flexibility to invest in our strategic growth priorities, including streaming.”

A new study confirms the tie between Covid deaths and exposure to wildfire smoke.

A new Harvard study has confirmed health experts’ early suspicions of polluted air heightening the chances of contracting Covid-19. Historically, the atmospheric ramifications of wildfires have caused a multitude of health problems for those who reside in nearby areas, and last summer’s explosive fire season recorded 20,000 infected persons due to smoky air. The small particulate matter, PM 2.5, in smoke hinders the white blood cells in the lungs from expelling infections, thereby making people exposed to fires at a higher risk of contracting a more severe infection. “We were not terribly surprised by the results as scientists,” says co-author Kevin Josey, “but as humans we are dismayed about the impacts.”

Rendering of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago

The Obama Presidential Center breaks ground in Jackson Park, Chicago.

Designed by renowned firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the Obama Presidential Center has broken ground in Chicago’s Jackson Park. The City Hall approved the transfer of the public park land to the Foundation, which put up $1 million as an endowment and allocated $500 million for construction costs. The $700 million project is expected to house a complex of four buildings, including a central tower that stories Barack Obama’s political career, a branch of the Chicago Public Library, and a parking garage. 

Alexander Wang is being sued for $75 million for copyright infringement.

Alexander Wang is being scooped up in another controversy following the outbreak of sexual assault allegations against him earlier this year. Named in a $75 million lawsuit, Wang now faces claims of copyright infringement from Jangle Visions, LLC founder Claudia Diroma. The controversy lies in the sketches of the Jangle Vision Twins, dressed in latex bodysuits, that were co-opted by Wang for an ad campaign that allegedly caused a severe loss in revenue for Diroma. Although the trademarking of clothing is a gray area, Diroma notes that her designs were “the cornerstone of an entirely new branding concept for not only the rhinestone handbag line and the Spin-Off Products, but for [Wang’s] entire fashion apparel and accessory collection.”

Image via Supreme

Today’s attractive distractions:

Supreme blankets an entire New York subway train in its signature red logo.

Melania Trump’s White House Rose Garden renovation is still making headlines.

Here’s a crash course in major artworks that were censored by Instagram.

In Denmark, a lawsuit is brewing over a brand-new “Little Mermaid” statue.

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