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The Met Opens an Afrofuturist Period Room, and Other News
Museum period rooms often fail to look beyond the purview of the rich, white people of yesteryear, making them seem staid and unadventurous. A new period room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art created through the lens of Afrofuturism, however, is seeking to redefine what the medium can accomplish. Called “Before Yesterday We Could Fly,” the Afrofuturist period room peeks inside the 19th-century house of a matriarch from Seneca Village, a middle-class Black neighborhood razed by New York City to create Central Park.
Hannah Beachler, “Black Panther” production designer and the project’s artistic lead, stocked the room with both historical and contemporary art and objects from the world’s foremost makers. On display are ceramics by Roberto Lugo; a chandelier by Ini Archibong; seating by Atang Tshikare and Chuma Maweni; wallpaper by Njideka Akunyili Crosby; a gilded dress by Fabiola Jean-Louis; and a video piece by Jenn Nkiru.
Though the installation doesn’t take up much space within the Met proper, it makes a major statement about the museum’s curatorial practices: “This room is very accessible,” says Sarah Lawrence, curator in charge of the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. “I’m hoping there’s an experiential punch to that recognition even if it’s not fully articulated, and our visitors might go back to our other period rooms and think more critically.”
In Barcelona, Odile Decq Finishes Her First-Ever High-Rise
For more than 40 years, the rule-breaking French architect Odile Decq has captivated the world’s eye with a design philosophy that rendered forms that are equal parts playful and bespoke. On the heels of her competition win that called for a residential tower off the Avenida Diagonal, Decq forays into Catalan with her firsthigh-rise project on the Mediterranean. “Antares is designed with sensory, visionary living in mind and sets a new standard for what a residential building can be,” she says. “It’s my first residential development and speaks to the heart of my philosophy to bring originality and innovation to everything I do.”
Playing host to 88 luxury units up to 4,155 square feet, Antares wraps its 26 stories in curvilinear terraces that create an undulating facade. The project features dual pools, one underground and moody, the other an infinity pool nestled on the rooftop that offers sweeping views of the Mediterranean coast and Barcelona skyline. Inside, bamboo timber floors and floor-to-ceiling windows complement the common spaces’ striking red, white, and black color scheme—a Decq signature. Flowing into the landscaped ground-level, the red motif reappears in an angular Miró and Gaudí–inspired pavilion that sits beside the Grand Café Rouge, a public restaurant overseen by Michelin-awarded chef Romain Fornell.
Aidia Studio creates a mosque marked by cascading lancet arches in Preston.
As part of a design competition by RIBA, the London and Mexico City architecture studio unveils a mosque that emulates a “quintessential archetype of Islamic Architecture.” Fitted with bronze mashrabiya screens to filter in natural light, a collection of arched volumes crown a small hill in Preston and craft a symbolic dialogue of ascension that reflects the inclined surrounding landscape. Equipped with dual gendered-entrances on either side, the building also features a lobby that transitions into a library, prayer, office, and plaza spaces.
The designer Clemens Weisshaar and his young son were found dead in Portugal.
In an apparent murder-suicide, the German designer was found dead close to a burned-out car that contained the remains of his three-year-old son, Tasso. His former partner, the celebrity fashion stylist Phoebe Arnold, reported their son missing after Weisshaar collected him but failed to return him in Lisbon. Weisshaar founded his firm, Kram/Weisshaar, with the Stockholm-based designer Reed Kram in 2002 after graduating from Central Saint Martins in London; the pioneering studio developed technology-based products such as Futurecraft Strung, a method of robotically weaving sneaker components for Adidas.
The Newark Museum of Art envisions a $85 million cultural and residential hub.
As the arts continue to gain a larger stake in Newark’s downtown revival, the institution tapped L + M Development Partners and KSS Architects to develop dual apartment complexes and commercial spaces slated to open in 2024. Titled Museum Parc, the proposed development will generate more gallery space, retail space, a revamped sculpture garden, and a ground-level restaurant. “We’re all trying to create a cultural district where people will want to live and want to stay,” says Newark Museum of Art Director Linda C. Harrison. “Maybe they’ll visit and say, ‘I want to live here.’ Everyone wins with a vibrant cultural district.”
Arthur Jafa’s new film inspires introspection of the Black experience in America.
Following its debut at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art this year, Jafa’s AGHDRA returns to Harlem for a four-week screening at the former location of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, the same venue of his beloved 2016 film Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death. Trading his typical music-video style for a more pensive montage with original footage, Jafa displays a rolling ocean made of magma wherein computer-generated waves never seem to break—a metaphor for looming misfortune, he explains. “What happens when people experience it over and over and over and over for a protracted amount of time?” he says. “What does it mean to be in the universe, an anti-Black universe? I wonder what it really means, like what it feels like—not on the level of ‘we need to protest,’ which is obviously true—to be a quote-unquote Black person. I’m so saturated with anti-Blackness. I hear a tsunami of microaggressions.”
Facebook is profiting by aiding scammers as they mimic and rip off artists’ work
Facebook users are being increasingly inundated with fake ads that prompt them to purchase knock-off art and design pieces. Artists are reporting fraudsters advertising editions of their work—likely originating from criminal organizations in China, Vietnam, and Russia—for highly discounted prices and saying the social media platform isn’t doing enough to stop it. “Facebook needs to be held accountable,” says Florida-based artist JL Cook, whose bronze rattlesnake sculptures have been copied and sold for small prices. “I thought it was just a one-off, and then dozens of these ads pop up from dozens of stores—and then hundreds of these ads pop up. I have reported over 900 ads on my rattlesnakes alone to Facebook. There are over 93 different URLs that are fake web companies that have my work on them.”
A London startup is pioneering pop-up offices that can be rented like Citi-Bikes.
The designer and entrepreneur Walter Craven’s fledgling company, Make.Work.Space, wants to outfit London in office pods for on-the-go workers who need quiet space in a pinch. Unveiled at this year’s London Design Festival, each unit is rented through an app, which directs users to unoccupied pods and controls the lighting, temperature, and WiFi. Each space will be equipped with speakers, a wall-mounted LCD screen, and retractable camera and mic useful for everything from meetings to recording a podcast. UV lighting will disinfect the pods between uses and a ventilation system will filter the air out.