Remote Siberian City to Receive a Contemporary Art Museum, and Other News

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The Arctic Museum of Modern Art in Norilsk, Russia

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A Siberian city known as the world’s “most depressing place” will receive an art museum.

Known for its polluted rivers, acid rain, and poisonous sulphur clouds, the Russian city of Norilsk is one of the last places one would expect to find a new contemporary art museum. But that’s exactly what is set to happen when the Arctic Museum of Modern Art (AMMA), designed by Russian architect Ilya Mukosey, is completed in 2025. Funded by the Norilsk Nickel mining company, the institution housed inside a retrofitted mall will exhibit Russian and foreign artists with a focus on an arctic theme. The project is one of two museums in the works as part of a cultural and social transformation the city hopes will boost tourism. 

“Frankly speaking, I didn’t previously have much faith in the city’s tourism potential but this is changing, there are lots of plans,” says Natalia Fedianina, the director of the Norilsk Museum Exhibition Complex, the body in charge of AMMA. “We haven’t yet spoken to the authorities about allowing foreigners to visit without a permit, but I think everything is pointing to an eventual opening of the city—why else would there be such colossal investment?”

A new affordable housing project in Venice Beach is sparking backlash from local NIMBYs.

Many solutions to the housing issue in Venice stem from the opposition of local homeowners who perceive relief as a homelessness containment protocol. Becky Dennison, executive director of Venice Community Housing, initiated a program titled Reese-Davidson Community, which aimed to provide 140 apartments designed by Eric Owen Moss for impoverished residents and local artists. Dennison’s relief operation included fortified canals, enhanced parking structures, and other consumer services. The dichotomy between the Reese-Davidson development and the city’s newly instituted anti-camping ordinance along with other policies that facilitate the criminalization of homeless individuals continue to strangle social equity in the area. 

Willow Village by Facebook in Menlo Park, California

Facebook ventures into real estate with a large-scale residential project in Menlo Park.

Maintaining their focus on the public sphere, Facebook plans to transform a 59-acre site in Menlo Park from an industrial research complex into a robust residential and communal hub in partnership with Signature Development Group. Equipped with essential neighborhood services and 1,729 apartments on-site—including 320 affordable units and 120 for seniors—Willow Village is pillared on pedestrian circulation, consumer engagement, leafy architecture, and sustainable building techniques. Being confronted with potential issues of augmented traffic and scarcity of housing, Facebook reformatted their blueprint to include 200 more apartments and 30 percent less office space. “We listened to a wide range of feedback and the updated plan directly responds to community input,” says John Tenanes, Facebook’s VP of real estate.

The Ford Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are giving $5 million to Latinx artists.

A new fellowship program launched by two of the country’s largest philanthropic organizations is working to address inequities facing Latinx artists. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation have donated $5 million to the Latinx Artist Fellowship, which will give 15 individual artists $50,000 each in unrestricted funds annually for the next five years. The program is open to artists of Latin American or Caribbean descent born or living in the United States and is part of the U.S. Latinx Art Forum.

Elizabeth Street Garden in New York

An affordable housing project threatens to replace Manhattan’s Elizabeth Street Garden.

The divorce between green spaces and affordable housing in New York continues as the decision to pave over the Elizabeth Street Garden looms. The nonprofit, assembled by Reiver for the purposes of preservation, argues for the 30-year-old garden’s permanency based on its public programming and environmental agency. City officials, however, are expressing the urgency of providing affordable housing. As expressed by New York City council member Margaret Chin, “together, we can set an example for the rest of the City as a leader in inclusive, affordable urban planning that benefits the entire community.”

The Florida lifestyle is called into question after the Champlain Towers South tragedy. 

“Hundreds of miles of beachfront, mild winters, sand dunes, palm trees, all that imagery—but more importantly, the promise of a better life,” Gary R. Mormino, a professor emeritus of Florida studies at the University of South Florida, said in describing what brings people to the state. “These people, this was the reward for their lives’ work. To have to die so suddenly and so tragically is so terrible.” In the wake of the Champlain Towers South collapse, The New York Times ponders whether the modern Florida dream, which began in the 1970s with the onset of the condominium craze, will ever be the same.

Today’s attractive distractions:

The Astor Place Kmart, an unlikely East Village icon, shutters without notice.

Video footage captures vandals breaking into a restaurant to cook dumplings.

Feel free to dive into Adidas’ first-ever “liquid billboard” in Kite Beach, Dubai. 

The world’s most Instagrammed pier stars in a new book by Pierfrancesco Celada.

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