Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter” Cover Compared to Fine Art, and Other News

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Beyoncé’s cover for “Cowboy Carter.” Image via Instagram

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Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter Cover Draws Comparisons to Fine Art

Beyoncé is galloping toward the release of her eighth studio album, Act II: Cowboy Carter, the eagerly anticipated country-tinged follow-up to 2022’s dancefloor epic Act I: Renaissance. On Instagram, the superstar shared the record’s cover art and thanked her fans for making her the first Black woman to top Billboard’s country chart following the release of lead singles “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” further explaining her decision to venture into the genre arose from an “experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed.” She wrote: “The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me.” Artistic nods abound on the cover art, which was shot by photographer Blair Caldwell with the same equestrian themes as those of Renaissance but much less sparkly. 

Instead, she assumes the form of a rodeo queen perched atop a racehorse, reins in one hand and an American flag in the other. Quick comparisons were made to the work of Kehinde Wiley, which places Black people in lavish settings that reference Western masterworks previously reserved for white leaders. Artnet News pointed out how the scene evokes Napoleon Crossing the Alps and the banner Marina Abramović holds in The Hero, and how it arrives at a cultural reassessment of the cowboy. Ivan McClellan will soon release a photography tome about Black rodeo culture and a recent exhibition at MCA Denver explored how artists are reckoning with the cowboy’s long-held archetype of masculinity. Whether or not Cowboy Carter dissects these themes remains to be seen, but we’re clearly in for some surprises. As she projected on the Guggenheim earlier this week, “This ain’t a country album. This is a Beyoncé album.” —Ryan Waddoups

The Star, Hollywood. Rendering courtesy of Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners replaces MAD Architects for a Hollywood tower wrapped in gardens.

Hollywood is poised to welcome a new addition to its skyline with The Star, a $1 billion vertical creative office campus designed by Foster + Partners, replacing an original scheme by MAD Architects. The cylindrical building aims to establish a hub for Hollywood’s top content creators, featuring a spiraling tower boasting spacious floor plates, expansive windows, and panoramic views that blend indoor and outdoor spaces. “This is a true reflection of the workplace of the future, nurturing community, well-being, and collaboration with green social terraces spiraling through the building that will encourage and enliven the city’s incredible creative industries,” architect Norman Foster said in a statement.

The Mellon Foundation awards Storefront for Art & Architecture a $1.5 million grant.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture a $1.5 million grant, aimed at expanding its programming over three years and supporting new hires. The grant will facilitate increased opportunities for collaboration and engagement, building upon Storefront’s legacy. “Storefront has been devoted to public life and to chronicling the changes in diverse built environments through critical artistic practice for over 40 years,” Chief curator José Esparza Chong Cuy, who took on the role after Eva Franch i Gilabert’s departure in October 2018, said in a statement. “This funding will enable us to expand its grassroots legacy by creating even more opportunities for engagement and collaboration on many scales.”

The Deck on Savile Row, London. Image courtesy of The Deck

The Deck, Savile Row’s first female tailor, becomes the street’s first B Corp business.

Savile Row is witnessing a shift towards sustainability driven by The Deck, a tailor exclusively for women, which has become the first B Corp-certified company on the iconic street. “I just don’t think people understand how wonderful B Corp is in terms of being so rigorous and how hard it is,” Daisy Knatchbull, the Deck’s founder, told WWD. The Deck underwent a thorough evaluation process, submitting data and answering 300 questions about their operations. With only 7,000 businesses holding B Corp certification, it marks a notable milestone. 

The EPA announces a major ban on asbestos decades after a partial ban was enacted. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a comprehensive ban on asbestos, a known carcinogen responsible for tens of thousands of American deaths annually. This ban, marking a significant expansion of EPA regulation under a 2016 law, targets chrysotile asbestos, the only ongoing use of asbestos in the United States, primarily found in products like brake linings and chlorine bleach. EPA Administrator Michael Regan hailed the ban as a major step toward protecting public health, emphasizing its alignment with President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative. The ban will be phased in over several years while the EPA continues to evaluate the risks posed by legacy asbestos in older buildings.

France is advancing a bill that imposes substantial penalties on fast-fashion products.

France is advancing a bill in the legislative process that aims to impose substantial penalties on fast-fashion products based on their environmental impact, with the proposal having passed its first reading in the National Assembly. This move is part of a trend of increased regulation targeting the fashion industry’s environmental footprint, spurred by growing awareness and the rise of disruptive ultra-fast-fashion brands like Shein. The proposed penalties could reach as high as €10 ($10.86) per item by 2030, potentially reshaping the economic model for brands reliant on high-volume sales at low prices. The bill introduces various measures, including hefty fees linked to environmental impact, restrictions on advertising for fast-fashion companies, and requirements for product information disclosure and promotion of reuse and repair. 

Claude Monet’s “Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies” on a Vacheron Constantin timepiece. Image courtesy Vacheron Constantin

Today’s attractive distractions:

Danish chef Rasmus Munk plans to offer ultra-luxury space dining for $500,000.

Vacheron Constantin teams with the Met to bring fine art to your next timepiece.

AI technology is hastening the repair of the historic British warship HMS Victory.

After 34 years, not one work stolen from history’s biggest art heist has emerged.

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