Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley Redesign AmEx Platinum Cards, and Other News

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American Express Platinum Cards by Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley

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Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley Redesign AmEx Platinum Cards

Last month, during Art Basel Miami Beach, American Express unveiled two AmEx U.S. Platinum Cards newly reimagined by Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley. Lending credence to the maxim that no canvas is too small, the cards are adorned with signature elements of each artist, from the deeply profound talismanic abstractions of Mehretu to Wiley’s sublime motifs that impart a sense of heroism to the subjects of his lush portraits. Both cards are available to new and existing American Express Platinum Card holders starting today. 

In the early 2000s, Mehretu and Wiley both participated in The Studio Museum in Harlem’s prestigious Artist-in-Residence program. They’ve since gone on to enjoy illustrious careers; the former has risen as one of today’s foremost abstract painters while the latter is perhaps best known for painting Barack Obama’s official presidential portrait. To celebrate both the Platinum Card rollout and the Studio Museum’s ongoing dedication to uplifting artists of African descent, American Express will donate $1 million to support the museum’s programs.

Moet Hennessy’s new office in Paris. Photography by Alessandra Chemollo

Moët Hennessy’s glimmering new office at Le Bon Marché embodies Parisian elegance. 

Located on one of the upper floors of the fanciful Parisian shopping destination Le Bon Marché is the glimmering new office for Moët Hennessy. Designed by the Franco-Italian firm Barbarito Bancel Architectes, the well-appointed interior pays tribute to the building’s original Art Deco details while gracefully juxtaposing them with opulent contemporary flourishes such as brass-ringed lighting and blond-wood partitions that help spread natural light. Bespoke workspaces, reception spaces, and meeting rooms spread across the office’s 104,000 square feet, which have been tailored for pandemic-induced flexible working habits. 

Bill Gates is planning to build a major nuclear reactor in a sleepy Wyoming town. 

The town of Kemmerer, Wyoming, has remained largely unchanged since the 1990s, with a population just under 3,000. That may change in the next few years thanks to TerraPower, a company founded by Bill Gates that specializes in nontraditional nuclear power. TerraPower aims to construct a sodium-cooled nuclear reactor by 2028, attracting workers from a local coal-fired power plant that’s scheduled to close soon. The news arrives as more U.S. states have started embracing nuclear power as a clean alternative to coal, oil, and natural gas to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The project, which will cost up to $4 billion to build, could generate up to 500 megawatts at peak capacity, enough to power 500,000 homes. 

One Wall Street shows how New York office space can be converted into housing. 

One Wall Street, a grandiose Art Deco skyscraper that once housed Irving Trust’s headquarters in Lower Manhattan, has been sitting vacant for nearly a decade. Macklowe Properties purchased the 50-floor building in 2014 and enlisted Robert A.M. Stern Architects and SLCE Architects to transform it into a luxury condominium, but the project has taken on a new significance thanks to pandemic-induced changes in work. It shows how adaptive reuse can transform underutilized New York office buildings—only 28 percent of the city’s office workers have returned to in-person work—to help address the housing crisis. Writing for Fast Company, Elissaveta M. Brandon argues that the biggest question is to “figure out how to transform these buildings into affordable housing that just won’t serve the elite.” 

Ivan Volkov’s installation in Saint Petersburg

A “playful poop” snow installation gone awry may land a Russian artist in prison.

After residents of St. Petersburg had criticized authorities for failing to clean up the city’s snow-blanketed streets, Ivan Volkov decided to take matters into his own hands. The artist and a friend created an installation depicting an enormous piece of shit sitting in a puddle of urine on the snow in Marsovo Pole (Field of Mars) as a cheeky take on the city’s poor maintenance. Authorities detained the two pranksters earlier this week and launched a criminal investigation based on a law that prohibits anyone from desecrating dead bodies or their burial places. Though the square is known for its blooming springtime lilacs, it was a burial site for Bolshevik victims of the October Revolution and Russian Civil War in Soviet times. If convicted, the two face up to five years in prison if authorities determine the installation was fueled by political or ideological motives. 

Late billionaire Sheldon Solow’s secretive art collection will finally go on public view. 

Sheldon Solow’s $500 million art collection has long been on display behind closed doors on the ground floor of an office building in Midtown Manhattan. That’ll change next year, when the late developer’s family will open the Solow Art and Architecture Gallery following a renovation and expansion of the space, which will finally open its doors after nearly 20 years. “I’m proud to say that we’ll be displaying the artwork to the public once our remodeling has finished,” Hayden Soloviev, one of Solow’s grandsons, told the New York Post. Solow’s blue-chip collection includes works by Henri Matisse, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, and Francis Bacon, among others. 

LVMH Luxury Ventures has taken a minority stake in New York label Aimé Leon Dore.

The French conglomerate’s arm that invests in small creative brands has taken a minority stake in Aimé Leon Dore. Founded by Teddy Santis in 2014, the New York label has gained a cult following with preppy-influenced designs such as rugby shirts and tailored pants with streetwear staples like graphic tees and hoodies. The brand’s distinct approach to “elevated urban Americana”—a nod to ‘90s hip-hop stars like Nas and the WuTang Clan that wore oversized Tommy Hilfiger pieces—has gained traction, and New Balance even named Santis creative director of the brand’s “Made in USA” line last year. The brand will continue operating independently from its New York office while receiving guidance and support from LVMH.

Loafa by TOMM¥ €A$H

Today’s attractive distractions:

Now’s your chance to live rent-free in an idyllic refurbished house in Sicily.

TOMM¥ €A$H cooks up the Camaleonda-like “Loafa” bread sofa for Ikea.

Have you ever wondered how to-scale emojis stack up against one another?

Klaus Pichler is looking into the destruction of genetically modified petunias.

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