A New Book Chronicles Betye Saar’s Works in Watercolor, and Other News

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A New Book Chronicles Betye Saar’s Works in Watercolor 

As one of the defining artists of assemblage and contemporary printmaking, Betye Saar’s work has long interrogated and transformed racist portrayals of Black people in America. Debuting today is a new catalog that documents the artist’s extensive watercolor practice, and the inspiration she’s found in Black dolls as chronicled in “Black Doll Blues,” her 2021 exhibition at Roberts Projects.

“In the past, much of my work has explored racial injustice by reframing derogatory images of Black people. While some may view these dolls as derogatory representations of Black people, and I agree some of them are, I didn’t create these works in the same spirit of Empowering Aunt Jemima,” Saar said in reference to the relationship between Black Doll Blues and her seminal assemblage, which was a centerpiece in the Brooklyn Museum’s “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” exhibition in 2018. “These paintings purely depict the Black dolls in their purpose of providing love and comfort.” The catalog brings together Saar’s sketchbooks, watercolors, and photos of her own doll collection. —Jenna Adrian-Diaz

Stained-glass windows by Faith Ringgold at Hopper College, Yale University. Image courtesy of Yale University

Yale unveils new stained-glass windows by Faith Ringgold and Barbara Earl Thomas. 

“For 84 years, one of Yale University’s residential colleges was named for John C. Calhoun, a Yale graduate who was an ardent supporter of slavery. But in July 2017, in a turnabout, the school dropped Calhoun’s name, denouncing him as a white supremacist, and elected to instead honor another alumnus, the computer scientist and mathematician Grace Murray Hopper. The name change occurred amid a reckoning with Calhoun’s legacy that came to a head in 2016 when Corey Menafee, a Black dining-hall worker, smashed a stained-glass window in the college that depicted enslaved people picking cotton—one of several in a series that glorified the antebellum South. Now, following lengthy discussions about the college’s history, present, and future, the university has replaced a dozen windows in the building with ones designed by Faith Ringgold and Barbara Earl Thomas.” [H/T The Art Newspaper]

Pace Verso sells out of all 990 available NFTs from a Random International collection. 

“There hasn’t been much excitement in the NFT world post–crypto crash this past June. But an unexpected win took place at Pace Gallery’s Web3 arm, Pace Verso, which sold out all 990 available NFTs from a Random International collection. Those NFTs were done in collaboration with Danil Krivoruchko and were part of a collection called “Life in Our Minds.” They were all gone in less than 24 hours. Sold at .25 ETH each, the collection’s primary sale raked in a respectable but not jaw-dropping total of around $380,000.” [H/T ARTnews]

The Green Pavilion by Studio Odile Decq in Paris. Photography by Stefan Tuchila

Odile Decq unveils a “green pavilion” near the Louvre during Paris+ par Art Basel.

“Studio Odile Decq has unveiled ‘The Green Pavilion,’ which was completed on the occasion of Paris+ par Art Basel. Taking shape as a small glass structure, the pavilion occupies the city’s Jardin des Tuileries, a large public garden beside the Louvre. It was commissioned for Odile Decq by Galerie Philippe Gravier, which sought a functional and occupiable art piece that will be used as a greenhouse. The work will be showcased within the bucolic site until Nov. 5, at which point it will be available for purchase.” [H/T Designboom]

Residents evacuate a Miami Beach condo after an inspection finds structural damage.

“The city of Miami Beach ordered residents of a 164-unit condo tower to evacuate the building Thursday after engineers found significant damage to a critical structural beam in the parking garage. Miami Beach spokesperson Melissa Berthier said around 4 p.m. Thursday that the city planned to post an unsafe structure notice and order residents of the Port Royale Condominium at 6969 Collins Ave., to vacate the 14-story building immediately. Engineers are recommending that additional “shoring”—a method of reinforcing areas that need repair—be installed in the garage to support the damaged beam. They expect it to be in place within 10 days. Under a Miami-Dade County ordinance passed after the June 2021 Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside, building owners are required to provide up to three months of housing and associated costs if officials determine their building was unsafe as a result of negligent maintenance.” [H/T Miami Herald]

Bottega Veneta introduces a lifetime warranty program for its expertly made handbags. 

“Bottega Veneta is known for its sense of quiet luxury. Its handbags are devoid of logos and ostentatious branding but have distinctive designs and craftsmanship techniques that those in the know recognize. The intrecciato design of woven leather is iconic, whether it comes in tiny or wide strips, it quietly screams “Bottega Veneta.” Each bag takes days to make using time-honored craftsmanship techniques and accordingly commands high prices. Now, the brand reinforces its commitment to expert craftsmanship and luxurious materials by announcing a new lifetime warranty program on its bags. The Certificate of Craft program offers unlimited complimentary refreshes and repairs on its handbags.” [H/T Forbes]

Catrinas sculptures at Rockefeller Center. Image courtesy of Tishman Speyer

Rockefeller Center celebrates Día de los Muertos with catrinas by Cesar Menchaca.

“Mexico Week kicked off at Rockefeller Center on Oct. 27, inaugurating several days of cultural activities, art exhibitions, and a food and artisan market. The event, which takes place for the second consecutive year, coincides with Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Mexican holiday typically celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 commemorating loved ones who have passed away. It is co-organized by a group of Mexican public institutions—the Consulate General of Mexico in New York City, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City—in concert with Rockefeller Center. A dozen catrinas designed by Cesar Menchaca, an artist whose studio employs Huichol artisans and whose work makes use of intricate crystal beads, are placed at various locations around the plaza and the Top of the Rock, the observation deck on top of Rockefeller Center.” [H/T Hyperallergic]

Authorities derail a climate activist from throwing soup at a painting at Musée d’Orsay. 

“A young woman tried to throw soup at a painting at the world-famous Musee d’Orsay in Paris this week, the museum confirmed Sunday, in a similar attack to others by climate activists in Europe. The museum refused to say which painting was targeted but it is home to artwork by some of the most famous European artists including Paul Cezanne, Paul Gaugin, Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, and Claude Monet. The museum told AFP it had filed a legal complaint for the ‘attempt to damage a piece of work’ after the female activist was intercepted on Thursday, confirming a report in Le Parisien daily. The Paris prosecutor’s office said police had opened an investigation after the complaint. According to Le Parisien newspaper, the woman had initially tried to approach the 1889 Van Gogh self-portrait at Saint-Remy before attempting to throw soup at a painting by Gaugin.” [H/T France24]

Today’s attractive distractions:

Taylor Swift’s former West Village home is now Zanotta’s corporate house.

This feminist bird club is opening birding up to LGBTQ+ people of color.

Topographic maps show that Mars once had an ancient northern ocean

TikTok and Instagram are slowly becoming Gen Z’s go-to news sources.

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