Christo’s Veiled Vespa Unveiled at Frieze London, and Other News

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s veiled Vespa. Image courtesy Colnaghi

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Christo’s Veiled Vespa Unveiled at Frieze London

Only a couple weeks after Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s ambitious wrapping of the Arc de Triomphe was finally realized—it took six decades of planning—another one of the late duo’s famed wrapped artworks has gone on view. Forming the centerpiece of the London, Madrid, and New York–based gallery Colnaghi’s booth at Frieze London is a veiled Vespa scooter that the duo originally completed in 1964. It is by no means their first wrapped vehicle; Christo first covered a Renault in 1961 for a solo exhibition at Galerie Haro Lauhus in Cologne, and temporarily wrapped a Volkswagen Beetle two years later. 

This particular Vespa, however, has a fascinating backstory. The art adviser Ultan Guilfoyle sought to showcase it unwrapped for the Guggenheim’s 1998 exhibition “The Art of the Motorcycle,” but Christo and Jeanne-Claude bristled at the idea, immediately turning him down. They didn’t forget the ask, bringing it up when they saw Guilfoyle at the unveiling of their monumental “The Gates” installation staged at Central Park in 2005. Visitors to Frieze now have a chance to own the Vespa for a cool $2.88 million, though we wouldn’t recommend unwrapping it—something tells us that doing so may bring about a Velvet Buzzsaw situation.

Jay-Z and Iddris Sandu

Jay-Z Invests in Whiz Kid Iddris Sandu’s Incubator sLabs

In 2019, Surface sat down with the then-21-year-old multi-hyphenate Iddris Sandu, whose cross-disciplinary body of work spans everything from writing code for tech giants like Uber and Instagram to launching the world’s first smart store with the late rapper Nipsey Hussle to designing an album cover for Kanye West. At the time, we wrote that the Ghana-born and Southern California-raised technologist had even bigger plans–and it turns out that he did. 

This week, Jay-Z’s investment firm Marcy Venture Partners announced it has taken a stake in Sandu’s incubator spatial LABS, which has collaborated with the likes of Yeezy and Rihanna’s Fenty line. In 2022, sLabs is slated to launch LNQ, a blockchain platform that aims to make the metaverse, or virtual environments, more accessible to creators. “Iddris has a conscious worldview and a youth-centric vision that’s innovative and refreshing to witness,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “We share similar parallels in how we imagine impacting people in our lifetime.” 

Adds Sandu: “JAY-Z has always been at the forefront of cultural evolution and identifying the next leaders. Aligning with Marcy Venture Partners assists with our vision for elevating the youth as it relates to access and a means to true technological empowerment.” We’ll be eagerly keeping tabs on where this alliance goes next; until then, revisit our conversation with Sandu for an in-depth look at a truly unique mind.

“Fiorucci Walls” by Keith Haring and Angel Ortiz. Image courtesy New York City Center

New York City Center resurfaces a 1983 Keith Haring Mural for its 2021-2022 season.

Inspired by the graffiti scapes nestled in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the artist partnered with Angel Ortiz (LA II) in the 1980s to craft a playful mural that took over of the Milan-based retail and exhibition space of the late Italian designer Elio Fiorucci. After storing the panels for decades, New York City Center unearthed and pieced together the restored mural in time for its annual “Fall for Dance Festival.”

Submissions are now open for the Female Design Council + NICOLEHOLLIS Grant.

In 2020, the Female Design Council launched a grant series in order to tackle the design industry’s glaring lack of diversity. The second annual grant will reward one BIPOC female-identified designer or architect with $15,000 to help grow their company and produce new collections with professional mentorship from Nicole Hollis. “Our industry needs a far more diverse set of voices, and we want to do our part to bolster new perspectives in design,” Hollis says. “Our sincere hope is that this grant will support the sustained growth of one promising emerging studio, one that we can watch thrive for years to come.” Applications are now open and will be accepted until December 15. 

Temple Bar

Temple Bar, New York’s former moody enclave for up martinis, prepares to reopen.

NoHo’s Temple Bar, a beloved local haunt known for its oversize martini that closed in late 2017, has been resurrected by the owners of Sona and Attaboy and will reopen this month. Once a symbol of ‘90s downtown glamour, the Art Deco–style interiors were given a refresh but mostly stay true to the original: green banquettes, mahogany walls, and a disco ball from Andy Warhol’s studio in the backroom. (The bar’s memorable skeletal chameleon logo still adorns the facade.) Another familiar staple making a return: bar bites like steak cubes and free popcorn. Dead Rabbit alum Samantha Casuga will lead the beverage program. “I like to call this nightlife for grown-ups,” says co-founder David Rabin. “It should feel a little bit elevated, a little bit aspirational, but it shouldn’t feel like just going to a club somewhere.”

Kanye West’s Wyoming ranch is back on the market two years after he moved in.

The controversial rapper is forgoing promises of job generation as the ambitious plan to transform his 3,888-acre, $11 million plot in Cody, Wyoming, into a factory for his footwear venture, Yeezy, progressed as far as his 2020 presidential run. Although mayor Matt Hall was sad to see the fall of Wyoming’s West era, he noted that the musician’s departure would not hinder social progress. “When somebody like that leaves, it’s unfortunate,” he said. “But I think we’ll all move on.”

“Stadia II” (2004) by Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu becomes a member of the Whitney Board as its third artist trustee. 

Following in the footsteps of artist trustees Fred Wilson and the late Chuck Close, Mehretu joins the Whitney board—its seventh appointment over the past year. The institution’s conscious onboarding effort comes on the heels of the artist’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition and the forced 2019 resignation of its former vice chairman Warren B. Kanders, whose business interests involved selling tear gas and that resulted in the withdrawal of eight artists from the Whitney Biennial.

Paul McCartney finally addresses a 51-year old rumor about The Beatles’ break-up.

For decades, McCartney was painted as the main instigator of rock’s biggest breakup, but in a BBC interview he revealed that the initial rift arose from John Lennon’s relationship with artist Yoko Ono, in which the couple was making a life outside of music and into art. “John walked into the room one day and said, ‘I am leaving the Beatles.’ And he said, ‘It’s quite thrilling. It’s rather like a divorce,’” he says. “The Beatles were breaking up, and this was my band, this was my job, this was my life. I wanted it to continue.”

“Derby.” Photography by Ken Graves and Eva Lipman

Today’s attractive distractions:

Arca describes her new Ray-Ban Aviators collab as channeling “glam doll horror.”

Luxury home aquariums have become an unexpected pandemic splurge du jour. 

A very dedicated man designs and builds a spinning home for his wife in Bosnia.

It turns out that demolition derbies are surprisingly tender and erotically charged.

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