The Hirshhorn Museum’s Redesigned Sculpture Garden Gets Approved, and Other News

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Hiroshi Sugimoto’s redesign of the Hirshhorn Museum’s sculpture garden gets approved.

The United States Commission of Fine Arts has granted final design approval to the landscape garden revamp at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. Japanese architect Hiroshi Sugimoto plans to add much-needed infrastructural improvements such as the creation of a platform to stage performances and sculptures along with the expansion of a reflecting pool and addition of a stretch of open lawn space. Though the plans have generated a fair amount of controversy since they were unveiled, in 2019, they’re expected to help boost visitor numbers by 300 percent. 

Budget cuts eliminate SFMOMA’s film program, art loan gallery, and publishing platform.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s programming will be getting tighter thanks to pandemic-related budget cuts. The institution recently eliminated some of its long-standing programming such as the Artists Gallery at Fort Mason Center, which helps loan works by local artists to local offices and residences; the film program will close after the autumn 2021 season; and the publishing platform “Open Space” and podcast “Raw Material” will both fold later this year. “In order for SFMOMA to sustain a healthy institution for our community, we must shift our approach to make these goals more actionable and successful in today’s dramatically changed environment,” a museum representative said in a statement.

The Venice Biennale’s “beach opera” will make its long-awaited U.S. debut in September. 

One of the major highlights of the 2019 Venice Biennale was Sun & Sea (Marina), the apocalyptic opera in which carefree daytrippers were performing everyday outdoor activities on a surreal indoor beach while singing arias portending the imminent ecological doom wrought by climate change. Conceived by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė for the Lithuanian pavilion, the opera will debut stateside in September at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. Afterward, it will embark on a cross-country trip to Arcadia Exhibitions in Philadelphia, the Momentary in Bentonville, AK, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, where it’ll be presented in collaboration with the Hammer Museum and the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation pledges $3 million to African American landmarks. 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (AACHAF) has announced an investment of $3 million to help preserve 40 African American landmarks across the United States. “The recipients of this funding exemplify centuries of Afircan American resilience, activism, and achievement, some known and some yet untold, that tells the complex story of American history,” Brent Leggs, AACHAF executive director, said in a statement. Among the grantees are the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center in Denver, Karamu House in Cleveland, and New Granada Theater Hill CDC in Pittsburgh. 

A rule at the Tokyo Olympics banning the Soul Cap designed for Afro hair goes under review. 

The Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) is assessing a rule that bans athletes from wearing the Soul Cap, larger swimming caps designed for those with “long and voluminous hair.” Backlash ensued after the brand was “denied by FINA from their approval process to become certified to wear for competition swimming,” according to an Instagram post. The agency is currently reviewing its decision to better “understand the importance of inclusivity and representation,” as well as whether or not the larger swimming caps provide wearers with an unfair advantage. 

Thanks to high rates of deforestation, the Amazon now emits more carbon than it absorbs. 

The Amazon rainforest was once one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, but deforestation has turned the natural wonder into a pollutant. According to a recent study published in Nature, one billion tonnes of carbon are emitted by the forest each year—a majority of which coming from forest fires, which are deliberately started to clear land for beef and soy farming. “The first very bad news is that forest burning produces around three times more CO2 than the forest absorbs,” Luciana Gatti of the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil, who helped lead the study, said in a statement. “The second bad news is that the places where deforestation is 30 percent or more show carbon emissions 10 times higher than where deforestation is lower than 20 percent.” 

Today’s attractive distractions:

Remember when MIT predicted that society would collapse this century?

Animal Crossing will soon receive the long-overdue Monopoly treatment

Spike Lee revealed the Palme d’Or Winner at Cannes ahead of schedule.

Dozens of weed-munching goats were unleashed in a New York City park.

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