Joana Vasconcelos Cooks Up a Colossal Wedding Cake, and Other News

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“Wedding Cake” by Joana Vasconcelos. Photography by Chris Lacey, courtesy of A Rothschild House and Garden

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Joana Vasconcelos Cooks Up a Colossal Wedding Cake

Joana Vasconcelos often uses handicraft techniques like embroidery and crochet to create vibrant, large-scale sculptures that comment on cultural identity and feminism. Take the Portuguese artist’s tentacular woven backdrop for Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2023 runway show, her fantastically dimensional take on the Mah Jong sofa for Roche Bobois, or her 2005 contribution to the Venice Biennale—a chandelier made of 14,000 tampons. Her latest undertaking manages to exceed all these scales by cooking up a 40-foot-tall, three-tiered wedding cake folly for the quaint English countryside. 

Installed this spring on the grounds of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, the colossal confection is clad in 25,000 pastel-glazed ceramic tiles manufactured in and inspired by the Baroque buildings of Lisbon, where Vasconcelos lives and works. Adorned with expressive details like ceramic cherubs, dolphins, and a water feature, the candy-colored folly towers over the Rothschild Foundation’s lush gardens as both a temple of love and an exploration of marital traditions. “I wanted people to have three different approaches,” she says. “Looking from the outside, enjoying the surroundings from the different levels or balconies, and rising to the top, finally completing the artwork with their presence.” —Ryan Waddoups

Photography by Cezaro De Luca/Europa Press/Getty Images

Three artists sue Shein, alleging the retailer algorithmically stole and sold their art.

Three artists have filed a lawsuit against Shein, accusing the online retailer of using an algorithm to identify trending art and reproducing it in sweatshops. The artists claim that Shein has sold nearly identical copies of their original work, facilitated by an AI system. The lawsuit also alleges that Shein’s corporate structure and practices, including environmental damage, labor conditions, tax avoidance, and intellectual property theft, pose major societal issues.

Google and its parent company are facing a class action lawsuit over its AI products.

Google, its parent company Alphabet, and Google DeepMind, its artificial intelligence branch, are facing a class action lawsuit alleging that they secretly stole content from millions of Americans on the internet. The lawsuit, filed in a California court, was brought by the Clarkson Law Firm on behalf of eight anonymous plaintiffs, including a bestselling author and an actor who believes her work was used to train Google’s AI products. The complaint argues that Google’s recent privacy policy update, which explicitly allows the harvesting of publicly available data for AI training purposes, confirms their suspicions.

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. Photography by Reg Lancaster/Hulton Archive, via Getty Images

Jane Birkin, the British-French style icon who inspired an Hermès handbag, dies at 76.

Jane Birkin, the British-French singer, actress, and style icon, passed away at the age of 76 in Paris. President Emmanuel Macron confirmed her death and hailed her as a French icon. Birkin gained international fame for her artistic collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg, particularly their hit song “Je t’aime… moi non plus.” She also inspired the creation of the renowned Birkin handbag by Hermès. Throughout her career, Birkin continued to act and sing, leaving a lasting impact on the world of art and fashion.

A Canadian ethics ombudsperson is investigating Nike’s alleged use of forced labor.

Canada’s Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) is investigating allegations against Nike, claiming that the sportswear brand has supply relationships with Chinese companies benefiting from Uyghur forced labor. The investigation follows a complaint filed by 28 Canadian organizations, citing findings from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute report. The complainants requested Nike sever ties with the implicated companies and ensure none of its materials are sourced from Xinjiang, but allege that Nike did not respond adequately. CORE has launched an independent fact-finding investigation to address the allegations.

Sotheby’s cuts multiple staffers and NFT specialists as the crypto market softens.

Brian Beccafico, a 25-year-old NFT specialist, made a public announcement on Twitter that he was leaving Sotheby’s, causing a stir in the auction house community. His departure was not isolated, as sources reveal at least ten senior employees, including NFT specialists, have been laid off there since April. This downsizing of the NFT-related workforce is attributed to cost management and the integration of certain NFT support functions into the company’s broader operations. Despite these changes, Sotheby’s remains active in the NFT market and recently achieved success with the Three Arrows Capital bankruptcy sale.

The Whitney Museum on Threads, featuring “Cady Noland, phone booth, NYC” (1981) by Allen Frame

Today’s attractive distractions:

This new AI tool can turn a scribble into a finished image within seconds.

Domenic Broccoli stirred unexpected turbulence when expanding IHOP.

A Namibian kelp forest operation is helping lock up planet-heating carbon.

The Whitney Museum’s savvy social media manager is winning Threads.

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